Monday morning, Crystal Swann, a junior at Saint Augustine’s University, received a phone call from her roommate’s mother inviting her to Thanksgiving dinner at their home in Raleigh. This invitation meant the world to Crystal because she is from Miami, Fla., and could not afford to fly home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“I actually had no idea how I would spend Thanksgiving,” Swann said. “I have no family here and all my friends will be back home with their family. I am grateful that this family thought enough of me to invite me to come over for dinner.”
Swann is one of many “Thanksgiving orphans” at Saint Augustine’s who live out of state and cannot travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Often, money is the issue.
“My mom is a single parent of five so money is a little tight where I’m from and plane tickets are so expensive this time of year,” said Saint Augustine’s University freshman Eric Little, who is from Long Island, New York.
Many students are not as luck as Swann but many who will not be able to go home for the holidays have linked up with one another and made reservations at local restaurants downtown Raleigh to have their Thanksgiving meal. Toya Mitchell organized at trip with a group of her friends for Thursday to the Pit restaurant.
“None of us will be able to make it home for Thanksgiving and I wanted to do something that would cheer up both me and my friends so I came up with this idea that if we could not make it home, let’s get dressed up and go downtown and eat together.”
But others will try not to make a big deal out of the day. Little plans to spend the day in his room with a warm up a bowl of roman noodles. He plans to watch football games until he falls asleep.
“I’m making the best of a bad situation,” he said.
— Devin Paylor