When organizers with Feet Forward found out there wouldn’t be a community meal on Thanksgiving in Boulder, they took matters into their own hands.
Soon, a plan solidified. Volunteers offered to prepare food or serve it. The word quickly spread.
With the help of community members, Feet Forward’s executive director Jen Livovich and a group of volunteers hosted a full Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at the bandshell in Boulder’s Central Park.
It’s not the first time Feet Forward has accomplished something similar. The peer support services and outreach nonprofit organization began hosting regular events providing clothes and food that soon morphed into centralized resource fairs connecting Boulder’s unhoused residents with services.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. As someone who used to live on the streets of Boulder, Livovich probably relates to that adage more than most.
“Being homeless in my past definitely has added to my resourcefulness,” she said. “I rely on my community and so that is how I’m able to pull this off.”
For about an hour on Thanksgiving afternoon, as the sun quickly faded behind the Flatirons, community members enjoyed a meal of holiday favorites, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and a variety of desserts.
The vast majority of it was prepared by Angel Thorpe, who also is formerly homeless. Thorpe said she loves to cook but had yet to take on a meal of that scale.
“This is the first time I’ve ever made a giant Thanksgiving dinner,” Thorpe said. “It was really hard. But it was fun and it makes me feel good that everybody got to eat because I was so sadly upset when I heard that they weren’t having anything in the afternoon.”
People gathered on the benches of the bandshell, chatting, playing music and just generally enjoying Thorpe’s food.
Jeni Shurley was among those who attended the community gathering on Thursday. The main draw? The food. Her favorite bite of the day was a piece of lemon cake.
“It was decadent,” Shurley said, laughing.
Aside from that, she was complimentary of Livovich and Thorpe.
“They’re good at what they do,” Shurley said.
Boulder City Council member Nicole Speer has volunteered with Feet Forward for a while and she stood in the serving line on Thursday, dishing out potatoes and stuffing.
“It’s just a great day to be sure that everybody feels full and has the chance to express gratitude today,” she said.
There was more food than Feet Forward could serve, but Livovich said none would go to waste. Any leftover food was dropped off at The Lodge, a 24/7 homeless shelter that caters to people who identify as women, transgender or nonbinary.