Celebrate community, gratitude at ninth annual Fall Feast

Six thousand meals will be served this Thanksgiving as the community joins together at this year’s Fall Feast to celebrate Cincinnati and the individuals who call the city home.
 
“Anyone can come to this event—we’ve built it on the idea of incorporating all walks of life at one table to share a meal,” says Erin Klotzbach, Fall Feast coordinator. “I wanted this to be an event where there were no demographics—there were no visual signs of ‘I’m from an upper echelon, you’re from the lower monetary demographic,’—I just wanted it to be more of an experience where you’d go to an event.”
 
Klotzbach got involved with Give Back Cincinnati five years ago when she attended Fall Feast and was a member of the planning committee. After one year of involvement, Klotzbach adopted the role of chairperson, and she’s served in that capacity for four years now, while working to transform the gathering into what it is today.
 
“The first year I chaired the event, we asked City Gospel Mission to join as a partner, and along with that came a few extra things they would do at their Thanksgiving dinner—coats and haircuts—because it was something they offered their guests,” Klotzbach says. “So we built that into our dinner, and it kind of evolved from a dinner to a dinner and resource day.”
 
The Duke Energy Convention Center will serve as the venue for the 3,500 guests who come to dine together, while 2,500 meals will be served to-go at various locations throughout the city. In addition to food, free haircuts and a coat giveaway, the event will also include free health screenings, pediatric and dental checkups, a children’s play area, live music and a big-screen television for community members to enjoy the national staples of Thanksgiving Day: parades and football.
 
“What makes Cincinnati great is its community—it’s a very giving culture—there’s lots of different resources for people in need,” Klotzbach says. “And it’s really an opportunity for different people to sit down at a table and interact with people they might not necessarily interact with. It’s bridging the gap in a situation where it might normally be uncomfortable, or you might not know how to engage that way, but because you’re sitting at the same table and you don’t see those lines, it’s very clear that we’re all there for each other.”

Do Good:

• Make Fall Feast part of your family's Thanksgiving Day tradition by attending the event. Meals are served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Doors open at 9 a.m.

• Donate new or gently used coats and other winter accessories to be given away at Fall Feast. 

• Like Give Back Cincinnati and City Gospel Mission on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 
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