Eighty-eight-year-old Gladys Meade, better known as Momma Meade, has been a vocal community activist and a guardian to countless youths in Strawberry Mansion for the past 60 years. Nearly every committee chair knows her name and nearly every corner boy knows her smile. But it isn’t just Meade’s advocacy that makes her the talk of the neighborhood. It is her generous heart.
Every year, she collects turkeys and gives them away to handicapped and needy families on the eve of Thanksgiving Day. She has been doing this for 45 years and this year is no exception. Her home is currently filled with roughly 30 turkeys ready to be distributed.
“I’ve been hosting these turkey drives from this little house for over many, many years and every year it still warms my heart.” Meade said. “Honey, the Lord has truly blessed me in this lifetime so I owe it to him to bless others.”
Even in economic hard times, Meade finds a way to provide for others in her community. “I don’t have the money like I used to, but where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said. Meade relies heavily on donations from the Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, Project Homes, nearby churches and individual offerings to make her turkey drives possible.
Although this year she received significantly fewerturkeys then previous years, Meade said she still hopes for a great turnout.
“Normally you’d see over 100 turkeys here, but everyone has scaled back this year,” she said. “But child, I’d spend my Social Security check before I see a hungry child.”
For Meade, it is all cheerful giving. “I don’t do it for handouts and I don’t do it for recognition,” she said. “I don’t it from the love in my heart because the Lord has placed it there.”
To help donate, contact Gladys Meade at 215-223-5221.