Thanksgiving tailgating for the homeless at Burnside Park - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Thanksgiving tailgating for the homeless at Burnside Park

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It's no small production.

On the last Thursday of every month Donny Okolowitcz and his friends prepare tons of food.

According to Okolowitcz he and his friends prepare "probably about 80 lbs of American chop suey, 10 gallons of hot chicken soup and I believe we're having a seafood bisque"

All for their monthly tailgate in Burnside park, with some of their least likely friends.

The guests come hungry, and in fact most of them, like Kristen Lapp, live their lives that way.

Lapp told NBC 10 "I've been struggling off and on homeless for the last five years." She has been coming to this tailgate for 7 months now, and pretty soon she won't be alone; Lapp is pregnant and is due in January.

These men donate diapers, baby clothes, and warm winter coats for the group. More importantly they do what so many of us fail to do for the homeless, look them in the eye. Peter Sperduti told NBC 10 that's the most important part. "It's about validating them as people to make them feel like they're just the same as us."

Okolowitcz and Sperduti know they get back so much more than they could ever give.

For Sperduti it is about the lessons these people can teach him, "you can learn something from everybody including someone that's on the streets, wisdom," and for Okolowitcz it is about perspective "it makes you realize that I get to go home to a nice warm bed, these guys go under a bridge, it puts everything in perspective."

They'd be happy to have you on the last Thursday of next month, or the month after that. Then you'll see it's not about finding out what made these people homeless its understanding why they're human.

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