A HEART FOR PEOPLE AND A PASSION FOR STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY THROUGH SERVICE.
Dr. John Kelley of Kelley Orthodontics and his wife, Alison, envisioned an outreach in which the smiles of Fort Worth would reach deep into the hearts of the city. He determined to do something radical in his community by pulling people together in order to bless others with more than a beautiful smile.
What started with 60 Thanksgiving turkeys has grown into a movement across the state. Since he began practicing orthodontics in 1999, Dr. Kelley traditionally gave turkeys to his referring dentists during the holidays. In 2012, with the support of his dental colleagues, John and Alison Kelley, founders of Live Thankfully, decided to redirect their efforts and reach out to neighboring schools and to families who were struggling to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table.
Alison and John worked closely with 3 local schools, their counselors and students. The process began with education and changing the way kids think about service and giving. Alison spent countless hours with her student leaders, teaching them how to conduct successful food drives with friendly competitions. The food from these drives served as side dishes to the turkeys. The students were highly motivated and eager to help.
Following three weeks of food drives, Kelley Orthodontics hosted a parking lot party to bag all the canned goods. That first Live thankfully year, the schools collected enough food to fill 500 bags of groceries and feed 60 families turkey dinners!
Seven years later, Live Thankfully is giving well over 2000 meals away to families in need across Texas. Live Thankfully now takes place in numerous satellite cities including Lubbock, Decatur, Granbury, and Cleaburne.
Live Thankfully is not another “turkey handout” nor another “canned food drive”. We are about empowering the next generation to be lifelong givers of their communities. We aren’t just serving meals, we are preparing young hearts for service. It is our goal to tear down walls and build bridges of trust between families in need and their school administrators. Live Thankfully is a life style, it is a way of living that brings dignity and pride to our families in need and establishes a lifestyle of service in our future leaders.