With Thanksgiving just days away, volunteers worked to help people in need and to teach young people to overcome violence.
At the same time, some families will spend the holidays without their loved ones due to violence.
There have been hundreds of shootings across Cincinnati this year.
Organizers hope to change the minds of young people this holiday and save lives.
“When I see our young men out there struggling, if there’s anything I can do to try to help them turn a different corner, I’m going to do it,” Dorron Hunter said.
Hunter said every meal handed out is symbolic this Thanksgiving week.
He started the program, Future Ambassadors, to help young men realize violence isn’t the way to a better life.
Hunter joined some of those young men and other volunteers to get meals to people in need.
“I’m tired of looking at our kids getting shot, shooting people, but there are some kids out here doing some great things, and those are the things sometimes we need to see,” Hunter said.
The “Thanksgiving Day Basket Giveaway” supplied about 200 families with food and money this year.
Volunteers, including Richard Florence, have dedicated their time to help the past 12 years.
Florence went through the Future Ambassadors program and launched his own business named Make a Billion By Any Means.
“The streets won’t — they don’t last. It’s either jail or death, and I own a business. I went through this program. I always give back.
I’m looking forward to the next generation and being able to make sure the generation after them is taken care of,” he said.
As of Sunday, Cincinnati city data showed 326 shootings in 2019, with 54 of them deadly.
City-data shows 22 shootings so far in November and 31 reported in October.
Both men hope programs such as this one can change a mind and save a life because so many families will already be hurting this holiday season.
“We want our young people to understand, you don’t have to (just) survive, you can live. Where you live might slow you down, but it don’t have to stop you,” Hunter said.
Beyond the volunteer opportunities, the Future Ambassadors program also motivates young men to seek higher education on their path to success.