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The Heart & Soul of Food

Take a ton of food, mix it with thousands of people and a heaping helping of the blues and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an event filled with both heart and soul. At Grace Living Center Northeast in Oklahoma City, they call it Soul Food Fest and it marked 17 years on Friday.  

The event draws thousands of locals every year to the home on Northeast 21st  in Oklahoma City and this year was no different.  

Germel Braxton and Margaret Wright dishing up more food at Soul Food Fest 2017 at Grace Living Center Northeast.The event was the brainchild of the home’s dietary manager Margaret Wright. She wanted to celebrate Black History month, but also find a way to help residents of the home continue to be connected to the community.

“Everyone loves the food from our residents and staff to the many guests who join us each year, but they also love having a good time. It’s about food, family and good friends,” she said.  

Margaret and her team worked round-the-clock for days in preparation for the massive meal.  

“It was about two hours of sleep a night,” Margaret said with a smile. “We are all running on adrenalin at this point. I think I’ll sleep for two days straight when it’s all over.”  

Before the last pan was put away, they had dished up more than a ton of food.  

Serving up food and fun at Soul Food Fest 2017.Staples of the event included ribs, fried chicken, catfish, brisket, pot roast and even pigs feet, as well as fried okra, greens, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and more. There also was a wide array of made-from-scratch desserts from which to choose, from sweet potato pie or cream pie to banana pudding, cheesecake and fruit cobbler.  

And keeping toes tapping with residents, staff and guests all taking to the dance floor to show their moves was E and E Blues Express. The band has become another staple of the event, providing a mix of soulful blues and jazz music.   

The event is open to the public each year.  

“No charge for the food and eat all you want,” said Margaret as she worked to keep the food tables stocked to fill the plates of the many diners in attendance. “It’s just our way of giving back to our residents and to the community.”

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