Local Small Business Owner Donates Thanksgiving Dinners to Sarasota Families in Need at Parenting Matters

On Tuesday morning, a Sarasota business owner provided Thanksgiving meals for families in the Sarasota & Manatee County areas

Chris Williams delivers Thanksgiving dinners to Parenting Matters in Sarasota

​Stores may look like a winter wonderland and Christmas jingles may be filling TV commercials already, but one local business owner is hoping to bring more attention to the holiday to be thankful and to encourage community members to help out their friends and neighbors who may be struggling this holiday season.

On Tuesday morning, a Sarasota business owner provided Thanksgiving meals for families connected with the Parenting Matters organization.

Chris Williams has been donating Thanksgiving meals for several years now. Giving back around this holiday is especially important to him. “Thanksgiving weekend is a time where it's just all about family, it's all about love and it's all about selflessness," said Chris.

Williams, who was previously homeless in Sarasota County, told a group he used to worry constantly about where his next meal would come from.

In 2012, after finding a stable place to live, Chris found that there were multiple food resources for the homeless community during the holidays. However, there weren’t many options for the families that were stable, but close to the poverty line. That’s where the idea was born.

In its first year (2014), Chris was able to help five families. “It’s just grown from there, each year a little more than the last.” Since then, Williams has fed more than 2,500 Manatee & Sarasota County families for the annual Turkey Day.

Williams, an active volunteer, is also the Board Chair at the Manatee County Salvation Army. “I’m seeing first hand just how many people are struggling with food insecurity, and whether it’s Thanksgiving or a Tuesday afternoon, something has to be done to help.”

As the daylight hours grow shorter and colder, it seems that most folks fall into a time of self-reflection and contemplation for what they are thankful for.

“For me, it’s about getting into the mindset that there is more to Thanksgiving than just getting together to eat. You need to look out for other people before you get consumed by yourself. My goal in all of this is to encourage others to do the same. Pick up a Thanksgiving dinner and share it with a neighbor, a friend, anyone that may find that expense too high right now or who might go without. We all need a chance to reset our minds and bodies, and a holiday weekend with a home-cooked meal can be just that.”

Chris Williams is the owner and Managing Director of Aginto, a digital agency in Sarasota. He serves as the Board Chair for the Salvation Army in Manatee County, and the Vice President of the Board at Parenting Matters.

Source: Parenting Matters