FAYETTEVILLE — Bridgett Floyd had her brother's memory in mind when she decided that her foundation would offer a free Thanksgiving meal on Saturday afternoon to the homeless in downtown.
Floyd is the younger sister of George Floyd, whose death in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on May 25 ignited a nationwide social justice movement. She said her brother had participated in a similar feeding in that city.
"It feels good to be doing something today that he has actually been involved in," Floyd said. "He fed the homeless."
The food giveaway was sponsored by her George Floyd Memorial Foundation, a national nonprofit group based in Charlotte that she started.
She said her late brother had a good heart and she wants the foundation to carry on his legacy of community giving. George Floyd was born in Fayetteville and has many family members who still live in this area.
"He was a gentle giant," said Bridgett Floyd, who lives in Hoke County. "We are pretty much the same when it comes to genuine love and looking out for the community, providing resources for the community. We definitely have that in common."
The foundation dished out meals for several hours Saturday afternoon to the homeless and other people in need.
Volunteers served people over the course of the afternoon with a turkey dinner and desserts and also passed out hygiene products.
The meals were offered to the homeless, people living in hotels with children, seniors living alone, and men and women who are enrolled in ex-offender re-entry programs.
The foundation is a national nonprofit organization that "strives to promote social change and initiate sustainable police reform and reverse racism while fighting for justice," its website says.
"Through organized community outreach, targeted educational programs, and intentional reform initiatives, we will honor the legacy of George Floyd and continue to ignite the world," its mission statement says. "Our mission is to eradicate systemic racism, eliminate police brutality, and to promote social justice and protect the civil rights of all people of color."
Bridgett Floyd said her foundation is trying to "bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement."
"We are pretty much striving to promote social change from the inside out and reversing racism while fighting for justice for my brother," she said.
Floyd said the giveaway was held in the perfect spot because numerous homeless people live in the downtown area near the site. Many found out about it from seeing others get food and word of mouth. A city bus route also runs by the site.
"It is very open-spaced, and I knew it would capture a lot of people," she said. "A lot of people want to know what is going on in downtown Fayetteville."
Carry Wright, executive director of the foundation, said it is still within 90 days of being launched and is planning for future events.
"In our first initiative, we gave a $5,000 donation to the Salvation Army in Minneapolis," Wright said. "(George Floyd) was a part of that organization. Our mission is to uphold his legacy."
She said the foundation is also planning to give back to needy families during the holidays.
"This is probably going to be our last community function like this until (society) opens back up (from coronavirus)," she said.
Donnie Wortham, who is homeless, said he appreciated the meal. He said times are difficult for homeless people as the virus has shut down many of the physical offices they need for social services and help.
"You can't get in touch with these people because some (homeless) people don't know how to text, fax and stuff, and you have to go online and do these things," Wortham said. "They need to send case workers out to help these people."
Moses Freeman said he's been homeless about a year and said he's also grateful for the meal.
He said he's disabled and gets a disability check but it's not enough for him to get into his own place. He said shelter spaces are few and far between in Fayetteville.