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The 'giving' in Thanksgiving

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The senior center distributed their annual Thanksgiving meal Thursday afternoon to residents around Buffalo. Center staff prepared over 120 meals that included turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries plus desert and milk. The meals were prepared Thursday morning by the staff at the senior center then packaged up and sent out for delivery across town. Included in the delivery crew was Leo Sampson, 86, who has been delivering meals every Thursday for what Sampson described as 12 or maybe 13 years. 

April Stuart, right, pours gravy over the turkey and stuffing

April Stuart, right, pours gravy over the turkey and stuffing while Cody Law adds cranberries onto the trays on Thanksgiving day. Stuart and Law were filling the trays based on the requests and restrictions of those ordering the meals before sealing them and packing in coolers.

The senior center prepared more than 120 Thanksgiving meals

The senior center prepared more than 120 Thanksgiving meals to deliver to community members on Thanksgiving day, a roughly 20% increase from the standard 100 meals that make a day.

Trista Roszel, left, and Jennifer Stuart pack up napkins, desert and milk cartons

Trista Roszel, left, and Jennifer Stuart pack up napkins, desert and milk cartons into paper bags with the names of recipients on Thanksgiving day at the Senior center. These were packed in a second cooler designated for each individual route. Jennifer was helping out for the day to accommodate all the extra meals.

Leo Sampson, 86, searches for the right bags to deliver at the first home

Leo Sampson, 86, searches for the right bags to deliver at the first home on his route on Thanksgiving day. Sampson has been delivering meals every Thursday for the senior center for the last 12 or 13 years. His daughter-in-law asked him to help out last minute while she was working there and he has been helping out ever since.

Leo Sampson opens the gate of a house to drop off a meal

Leo Sampson opens the gate of a house to drop off a meal on Thanksgiving day in Buffalo. There are a number of different delivery routes through town, all of which Leo has done, but he prefers to keep the same route and see familiar faces each week.

Jean Russell, right, laughs with Leo Sampson after receiving her food

Jean Russell, right, laughs with Leo Sampson after receiving her Thanksgiving meals about what the day has in store. She said her only addition to the meal would be the sweet potatos she went to the store to get. “You’ve gotta have sweet potato on Thanksgiving,” she laughed.

Leo Sampson drives the south route, delivering meals each Thursday

Leo Sampson drives the south route, delivering meals on the south side of town each Thursday, including on Thanksgiving day in Buffalo. “You get attached to the people,” Leo said of the people he sees each week. At each familiar stop, Leo took a brief moment to catch up with his friends to ask about recent surgeries, family members and other small talk.

Leo Sampson hauls a cooler back into the senior center

Leo Sampson hauls a cooler back into the senior center after completing the deliveries for the south route on Thanksgiving day in Buffalo. Leo was proudly the first driver to finish his trip and return the coolers and extras. After completing his deliveries, Leo was headed home to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for himself and his wife.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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