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Brenda Jackson has made many contributions to Shelby County, and she has won honors – including the state's Rev. Martin Luther King Citizenship Award earlier this year – for those efforts, which have included nearly a quarter of a century on the Shelby County Board of Education.
We were not surprised, then, to learn that Ms. Jackson had played a significant role in expanding our community’s efforts to provide a Thanksgiving meal to those who weren’t in position to have one.
Ms. Jackson sometimes may appear humble in her approach to her public service, but there was nothing small and quiet about her joining with the leaders of Victory Baptist Church to take the Thanksgiving dinner to a much grander scale.
Victory’s leaders should be applauded for the past seven years of having fed the homeless and hungry, but Ms. Jackson rallied so many supporters and volunteers that now this annual meal requires Stratton Center to accommodate all those who attend.
The meals are prepared and donated. The setup and cleanup are by volunteers. The dinner has grown from carry-out to dining in. Those fed have grown from dozens into hundreds.
We are a better community for those efforts.
Ms. Jackson became involved on a personal lark, it would seem, but those who rallied around her have created what we see is an opportunity for Shelby County to do even more.
What if the Thanksgiving event attracted school and civic clubs to assist? What if all the churches that have become involved would expand the reach of the event deeper into our counties by reaching out geographically to individuals and families in great need?
What if Thanksgiving could spill over into Christmas, in partnership with the small but hopeful Shelbyville Optimist Club, which strives to stage a holiday meal whenever possible?
Yes, we see all sorts of possibilities for this event.
But in so doing we only are taking a cue from Brenda Jackson.