Ministry jazzes up Thanksgiving with open mic event

LAWRENCEVILLE - By no means was it your run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving borefest.

Love in Action Outreach Ministries recently gave a dose of spoken-word flare to the perennial show of gratitude that is Turkey Day. The Gwinnett-based nonprofit held a public open mic event Nov. 14 for participants who waxed poetic and sang about life's bounties, big and small.

The show transformed the typical football-parades-and-gluttony routine of a modern day Thanksgiving for the better, leaders said.

The inaugural event drew about 100 amateur poets and singers, young and old, organizer Bobbi Pack said.

"It was an intimate, nonconformist event," Pack said. "Everyone was a star. That was the beautiful thing about it. Everyone had the opportunity to shine."

Ministry leaders hope to open an emergency residential facility in Norcross called the "House of Joy," a respite for single women and children who face crisis situations, said Pack, the group's founder and president. Leaders are seeking volunteers to staff the center.

At this month's event, held at the VFW Post 5255 in Lawrenceville, participants received an assortment of donated goodies from grocers like Kroger and Publix, restaurants Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, Joe's Crab Shack and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, as well as local businesses like Elegant Impressions salon and My Friends Place deli.

Above all, it served as a reminder of life's true blessings, Pack said.

"Regardless of these challenging and difficult times ... people don't take time to think about health and family," she said. "The things that count."

Learn more about the ministry at www.houseofjoynorcross.org.