Reading, Pa., October 25, 2017 – The 9th Annual People First Event is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14 at Queen City Family Restaurant, Reading, Pa., which will be closed for the day to the general public and will be festively filled with over 1,000 invited guests who are homeless or less fortunate to a festive meal during the season of Thanksgiving.
“Putting ‘People First’ is our annual tradition of celebrating the true meaning of community and paying it forward. With hot comforting meals served by caring volunteers with warm smiles, we wish to help nourish the mind and bodies of people who could use some encouragement,” said Elsayed Elmarzouky, founder of People First and owner of Queen City Family Restaurant, Reading, Pa.
Each year, more than 100 volunteers assist with cooking meals, serving food, and handing out gift bags for men, women and children.
Community non-profit organizations helped identify and invite individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk. More than 1,000 invitations were personally distributed through Berks Coalition to End Homelessness, Opportunity House and Berks County Veterans Assistance Office.
Food donors include Berks Packing, Feeser, Sysco and US Foods. Collectively, they donate the items needed to make a festive holiday dinner including turkey, side dishes and desserts. The meals are prepared and served by staff and volunteers at Queen City Family Restaurant.
To accommodate the large number of people, Customer’s Bank is sponsoring a heated tent from Knight’s Rental which serves as an extension of the restaurant to house more guests as well as the hub for holiday gifts.
Berks Conference of Churches and Immanuel United Church of Christ, Shillington, worked intently to collect donations of hats, scarves and gloves that are wrapped in gift bags. Also, blankets are supplied by Blankets of Hope – Berks.
Gift bags were made possible by Holleran Center for Community & Global Engagement at Alvernia, which also orchestrates the volunteer manpower. There are teams comprised of volunteers throughout the community who handle fulfillment and packaging of all gift bags, set up and tear down for the event, transportation and traffic control, greeters, servers and more.
Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) provides transportation and the Reading Police Department keeps traffic flowing safely in the vicinity. The Anderson Group provides marketing and planning support.
The People First committee works hard to make the event reflect its true meaning of welcoming people in the community who ordinarily do not feel welcome. This event goes far beyond the meal. It is about giving back. People First supporters encourage other businesses to join them in their efforts and find a unique way to give back to their community.
About People First
In 2008, the People First event was founded by Elsayed Elmarzouky, owner of Queen City Family Restaurant in Reading, Pa., to help heal the community during slow economic times by giving individuals and families and emotional uplift. People First has dedicated its time and resources to helping those in the community who are in need of a good meal and a welcoming atmosphere. People First event accomplishments at a glance:
• 10,000+ individuals have been personally invited for a free meal and camaraderie.
• 600+ volunteers to serve meals, transport guests, provide festive atmosphere.
• 10+ businesses, vendors, non-profits and agencies to provide food, gifts and community compassion.
• Endless smiles, tears of joy, and the genuine gift of giving to those in need to remind each guest that there is hope and they deserve respect.