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Thanksgiving meals delivered to residents at the Grace Place Apartments

Residents allowed back in building 30+ days after Richmond city officials deemed it unsafe
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 3:45 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2021 at 6:50 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Thanksgiving holiday felt a bit normal for some Richmonders after they were displaced from their homes for more than a month.

On Wednesday, residents living at the Grace Place Apartments received the good news they were allowed back in the building. This comes after the Richmond Fire Marshal’s Office deemed the apartment building unsafe for residents to stay back on Oct. 22.

On Thursday, the men and women who live at Grace Place felt a multitude of emotions, but being thankful was certainly at the top of the list.

“It felt good, you know what I’m saying?” said Calvin Williams, a resident. “It feels good to be home.”

While the property manager said there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done on the building, some residents were happy to get back in.

“We can get back to our daily life, back to our routine,” said Jennifer Orishak, a resident.

The 33 days spent out of the apartments certainly impacted residents in different ways. Even though they were able to get back home on Wednesday, planning a Thanksgiving feast may not have been at the top of the list.

“I was cleaning up the kitchen and I was baking cookies,” said Anne, another resident.

It was why The Giving Heart had already planned to deliver dozens of meals to these residents but were now able to drop them off at the home base.

“I was ecstatic because I had gotten the memo about four different locations to travel to,” said Vicki Nielson, Executive Director of The Giving Heart.

Volunteers taking the time out of their Thanksgiving holiday to make those deliveries to these families.

“It makes me feel really nice that they’re back in their homes, and they get to have a hot meal there,” said Jennifer Fuches, who delivered the meals to Grace Place.

“What a wonderful time to do it you know,” Nielson added.

On top of the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and of course pie, residents also received a Walmart gift card from property management.

Many hope this holiday will mark the start of a new beginning at Grace Place.

“I’m blessed to be here,” Orishak said.

Among the 55 meals delivered to Grace Place residents, Nielson said about 1,500 meals total were delivered by volunteers across the Richmond area.

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