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Holyoke giving back for Thanksgiving

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Members of one community in Holyoke chipped-in to make sure their neighbors are fed and cared for on thanksgiving.

It was a loud, packed house and there was plenty of delicious food at the Lafayette Bar in Holyoke Wednesday night. It looked like a typical family Thanksgiving at the South Bridge Street bar.

"Today me and all my brothers, we chipped in over $1,500 to help feed the whole community for thanksgiving," said Colin Hodges, who helped organize a community Thanksgiving Eve meal. 

Hodges is lucky - he's got a family and somewhere to go on Thanksgiving.

But he says there's people right here that live in his neighborhood that don't have that much.

"I grew up on South East Street right here in Holyoke and it feels real good, for everybody that doesn't have a family to go to tomorrow. So if you don't have a family to go to come here and be our family for the day."

This is the second year in a row he and his family, along with community support, have offered a free Thanksgiving Eve meal to the people that live in this neighborhood. There were 40 trays of food and desserts, but people there said the food is only part of it.

"They invite the whole community to spend Thanksgiving, care for people who don't have much, a free meal and the kids are having fun," said Janiz Torres, who lives in the neighborhood and stopped by with her baby for a meal. 

"I like seeing this, I like the community to get together, I like to see the kids fed and stuff like that," said Elliott Sierra owner of the bar. 

This is a section of Holyoke some consider dangerous and others only pay to attention when there's crime.

Wednesday night was a step towards changing that.

"There's a lot of negative points and a lot of things that are said about people that live in the area...When actually there's a lot of great points and a lot of good and positive things that they try to do for the community and try to give back," Torres said. 

"They don't see the good things like this, that we give back to the neighborhood," Hodges said. 

They fed about 1,000 people.

This group doesn't only chip in on Thanksgiving, they also hand out candy on Halloween and have a toy drive around Christmas.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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