More To The Story: The Grateful meal

Dave covers the outdoor community Thanksgiving meal called "Grateful"

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – It’s a big crowd gathered on the street. In front of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in downtown Chattanooga.

An entire block “blocked off.” Two long tables. One for loading up food on your plate.

The other for a sit down meal. An early Thanksgiving meal. For two hours, folks could eat for free. Anybody who so desired. Everybody welcome.

Despite the pandemic putting a clamp on this event the past two years……..show up they did. Bigtime!

DAWN HJELSETH, VP MARKETING / RIVER CITY;
“We were planning for a big turnout. We were afraid the weather might scare some people away. But we’ve had over a thousand people today. We’re thankful people came out after two years of missing this event.”

GABRIELLE CHEVALIER, MARKETING/THE ENTERPRISE CENTER;
“I love seeing this turnout. I was a little curious as to what it was going to look like. Because of COVID, we were limited the past two years. So being able to be out here is really exciting.”

This get together is sponsored by the city and a number of organizations and businesses. The annual free meal is officially known as Gratefull.

This event started back in 2014. There are other cities who do this. But for the most part, the idea was born here in Chattanooga.

The goal is to bring people together. Removing barriers. Promote understanding. And friendship. In this case, mission accomplished.

GABRIELLE CHEVALIER, MARKETING/THE ENTERPRISE CENTER;
“I was grateful to help serve people. And grateful to eat the food. Especially since it was from local vendors. It’s very exciting. Especially when we can support local businesses and feed people. That’s really what the mission is all about.”

There were no expectations here. No agenda. Just gather and eat. And enjoy a little slice of life.
Dave Staley, News 12.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News, More To The Story With Staley