Dorell Wright Saved Oakland’s Thanksgiving Meal for the Homeless

by November 25, 2011

Due to city budget cuts, the annual free Thanksgiving meal for Oakland’s homeless and underprivileged was in danger of getting canceled this year. That is, until Dorell Wright stepped in. Yahoo! Sports has the details: “About two months before the event’s 20th anniversary, [Susan] Shelton – who is Oakland’s manager of community housing services – learned the city had raised barely a quarter of the $40,000 needed to put on the meal. Officials were on the brink of announcing the event would be canceled and replaced by a turkey giveaway. As it turned out, Shelton didn’t need to worry. On Tuesday, the city helped feed an estimated 2,100 people an early Thanksgiving dinner thanks to an unexpected benefactor: Golden Warriors forward Dorell Wright. After a generous donation from Wright, the event went on as planned. ‘I’m grateful for Dorell,’ said Shelton, who has been involved with the dinner for 12 years. ‘We weren’t going to do it this year. We didn’t even have the money. I don’t even know how he heard about it. And he came in and he said, ‘We are going to do this thing,’ and he did. ‘He gave a great deal, and it was through Dorell’s efforts that we were able to put this on. This is an event that is in the fabric of Oakland. I don’t want to be dramatic, but for me it would have been devastating not to be able to do this for our seniors and our homeless.’ Around the end of October, Wright and his longtime girlfriend, Mia Lee, initially decided they would use his D Wright Way Foundation to donate turkeys in Oakland during Thanksgiving week with the help of a local group. After searching on the Internet, Lee found Oakland’s Hunger Program, which leads the city’s annual turkey dinner. She told Wright about the funding problems, and he agreed to help. A coat drive that brought in 2,000 jackets was added to the project. ‘There was no hesitation,’ Wright said. ‘All these families have been dependant on these dinners.'”