Within the last few years, the Midtown Utica Community Center has developed its own Thanksgiving tradition.
Here at MUCC, over 100 people will be going in and out of this door for a thanksgiving tradition.
“It makes the American culture. You know, our culture here is comprised of all different traditions coming together,” said Chris Sunderlin the Executive Director at the Midtown Utica Community Center
For three years, Sunderlin and his family have altered their Thanksgiving ritual by inviting a few more people to the table.
“The whole meaning of thanksgiving, of giving back something that you got. I mean these people are incredible people,” said Richard Sunderlin.
And that feeling is mutual.
“It feels amazing because, like there’s a lot of people here and since I’ve been at MUCC, I’ve volunteered a MUCC for a real long time, it feels like family and stuff,” said Shalomo Thin, a MUCC Member.
MUCC is made up of hundreds of refugees looking for a home away from home. Much of their time is spent at the center and today, they’re sharing ten turkeys–thanks to donations from the community. But the rest of the food is provided by the Sunderlin family.
“My family’s, uhm, the biggest reason why I do what I do. I grew up with this sense of duty to serve,” said Sunderlin.
Although that means a day spent in the kitchen for the Sunderlin’s, it’s worth it once they see the kids enjoying the holiday.
“They’re just happy to be here. It’s great to work with them,” Richard Sunderlin said.