LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Socially distant games, a hot meal, and fellowship are what those at the J.D’s Center of Hope were serving up this afternoon for their eighth annual Gobble Gobble event. Stephanie Olford, the director of J.D.’s Center of Hope, said they had to strategize a plan to keep everyone safe.
“We normally have it on the inside of our gym, but because of COVID, we want to make sure we follow guidelines and safety of the CDC, so we brought it outside here,” Olford said.
Coordinators spaced out tables, required masks, gave out individual meals, and hosted a scavenger hunt, so people could get moving at a safe distance. First-time guest James Goolsdy said this is the first time he’s been out of his house for a while.
“Believe me, it’s been a blessing,” Goolsdy said. “Some of them, like the young man there, I’ve known him all his life, but I don’t ever get to see him because of this pandemic, and so I stay at home. This day here has been a blessed day for me.”
Delphina Maxie, the chairman of the board, said she was happy with the turnout because they had to limit the number of guests this year due to COVID-19.
“I’m just excited that the Hope Center and the workers went on and continued to want to do this event because there were choices and decisions having to be made, but they were adamant,” Maxie said. “We want to do what we can, we want to touch whatever lives that we still can touch, even in the pandemic.”
The Center of Hope has had to cancel a handful of events this year, but Olford said they couldn’t miss this one.
“Looking all over the county, even our nation, there’re so many deaths,” Olford said. “There’s so many people that have lost a loved one, so many people have been hospitalized with COVID, and we wanted to just bring some joy to them, some happiness to them, and let them know that there’s still somebody thinking about them.”
The Center of Hope gives away food from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of every month outside their building on 1204 Cain Street in Lufkin.