HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WOWK) — There was a seat at the table for those who couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the one group in Huntington that made sure this holiday didn’t have to be spent alone.
It was all smiles and good times at the “Family Thanksgiving Dinner” hosted by members of Huntington Pride at The Cellar Door Thursday. Raine Klover is volunteering at the event and says she understands the importance of making people feel included.
“Their family is gathering around the table and they aren’t welcome and that’s heartbreaking, but it’s a sad reality,” Klover said. “We’re working to provide a space for people of any stripe that can’t go home for whatever reason, can come here and be welcome and have a good time, have a great meal, meet some new people.”
Jacqui Lewis is there with her girlfriend, Bernice Miller, and says having a dinner where everyone, not just members of the LGBTQ community, are welcome is inspiring.
“I’ve never seen a really mixed environment like this, even in San Francisco,” Lewis said. “It’s usually all gay or all straight, so this is wonderful, and seeing so many kids!”
The Human Rights Campaign released its Municipal Equality Index last week, giving the City of Huntington a perfect score. The attendees at the dinner say providing a safe and welcoming space is why the city is strong in its commitment to everyone, everywhere.
“I think it’s wonderful that we have developed a built a community that we could be here with each other,” Lewis said.
“Family doesn’t have to be blood,” Klover said. “Family can be the family you choose.”