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Thanksgiving 2021 returns to normal for some, while others remain cautious

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:59 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - COVID-19 caused many families to skip their traditional Thanksgiving celebrations last year. And while many are anxious to get the family back to the dinner table, others say it’s still too soon.

The organizers of a turkey giveaway at Lockett Williams Mortuary in Gulfport wanted to address both sides Monday by offering both free turkeys and free COVID vaccinations.

“It is such a blessing to be able to give back to the community. Chris and I both, being from east Biloxi, come from a povertous environment and we just like to give back when available,” said Brick and Spoon’s Joshua Mitchell.

The business provided hot meals to all those who came to the event. However, they were far from the only ones who made the event possible. Bancorp South staff were critical in turning the event into reality. Many said they’re eager to spend the holidays with their families.

“Looking back with COVID and not really being able to interact with our families, we were always separated. But now this year, we are all finally coming together,” said Michelle Sabulao-Conner.

Event organizer and State Representative Sonya Williams Barnes made sure the gathering offered attendees a way to protect themselves and their families.

“Families are getting together. Many African American families, and others are not vaccinated. So it is important for us to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated,” said Rep. Barnes.

Singing River and Ochsner’s vaccination tent set up helped calm several community members’ concerns. More than 15 people stopped in to get a booster shot to further protect their loved ones in the days ahead.

“A sense of relief knowing that I can start to hang out with my family more. A big sense of relief. It feels good,” said shot recipient Angela Saucier.

The group handed out more than 200 turkeys that will be the centerpiece of a celebration this week, and that’s something that had all the volunteers smiling.

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