The Community Enhancement Collaboration of the Washington Park Community of Hollywood held its annual Thanksgiving Luncheon at Washington Park Community Center on November 14. City of Hollywood community and business leaders volunteered and helped serve the many people who attended.
The CEC was officially started in 2004 by one woman, Nadine McCrea, founder and president, a resident of the area, who wasn’t content to let her neighborhood fall to the criminals and drug dealers who were quickly taking over. (Unofficially, Mrs. McCrae had been doing community outreach from her living room since 1982!). Almost single handedly, Mrs. McCrae worked diligently to build up the CEC and make Washington Park a better, safer place to live and raise a family. Today, the CEC offers a variety of services to the community, and on November 18, the Community Enhancement Collaboration held its Holiday Food Distribution to neighborhood residents, giving out approximately 60,000 pounds of food to people who otherwise would not be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.
“We gather to give thanks. We should help each other,” she said.
For her many years of work for the community, Mrs. McCrea has been repeatedly honored, most notably in when she received a Certificate of Appreciation from President Barak Obama, thanking her for her many years of dedication, hard work and sacrifice. She also was named City Citizen of the Year in 2007 by the Florida League of Cities Excellence Awards, and one of Five People You Should Know in South Florida in The Miami Herald’s “In the Know” .
Many of the people who attended the November 14th luncheon were senior citizens; Others were families who are facing various challenges in their daily lives. Some are living alone and have few financial resources so this meal will be their only Thanksgiving celebration. Others struggle to pay for basic meals.
Area business and community leaders who donated and helped to serve the food included Shelly deMarco, community services chair of the Hollywood Women’s Club, Commissioner Linda Sherwood, who has been serving at the event for at least ten years , and Ace Mengelgrein, vice president of the Hollywood Lions Club. Also on hand were Mayor Josh Levy, several members of the Hollywood Police Department, and students from the Sheridan Technical College culinary arts program.
A good time was had by both the volunteers and the recipients of the delicious meal. There was live musical entertainment and people enjoyed spending time together. Mrs. McCrea said she was pleased to see people coming together to help those in need and that she was glad that various organizations donated to make the event a reality, while the volunteers agreed that helping people in their own community is a most rewarding way to spend an afternoon.