Thomas preparing for Thanksgiving
By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time when families and friends gather together to feast. The Turkey Day meal usually is preceded with food drives and group efforts to provide meals to the less fortunate.
Lisa Thomas provides that service for at least 20 people every day of her life. She does this with no pay – just out of the goodness of her heart. The people she sees every day depend on her and she is determined to not let them down.
Thomas always had a dream of opening her own restaurant business and she finally got her chance with the opening of "Drexel and Honeybee's" in downtown Brewton. She received a letter one day from the manager of Crepe Myrtle Village requesting bids on a project to feed a number of residents of the village.
Thomas was faced with the problem of running two kitchens, as she had to keep the restaurant separate and the time was right to close it. She, with the help of organizations such as McMillan Trust, Finlay Foundation, Southern Pine and private sources, was able to build a building next to her home on Old Castleberry Road to house the kitchen and the storage facilities to furnish food to people who need her help.
She has helped her own cause, too. Last year she walked to Montgomery to publicize the cause of the poor and hungry. Next year she plans another walk, this time to Washington, D.C., to try to get the ear of the president on the same subject.
There are those who step up during holiday season to help the needy have a good meal, but Thomas is there every day.
Thomas was ill in September when Hurricane Ivan tore ripped through town and she was not able to help like she wanted to.
Thomas was born in Brewton, one of 12 children. Her father worked for the City of Brewton. She attended Booker T. Washington School for nine years and then graduated from Southern Normal in 1970. She said she was an average student, a cheerleader and played drums in the band. After she graduated from high school, she went to Hope College in Holland, Mich., for a couple of years. She moved to Atlanta, Ga., and got a job waiting on tables until 1976.
In 1976 she and a friend decided to drive to California to live.
She lived in Los Angeles for 18 years doing all sorts of jobs.
It took an earthquake to shake her up and send her back to Brewton. She said that she had been through many small earthquakes while she was living in Los Angeles, but in 1994 she really got shook up when the area was hit hard with an earthquake.
She came back and got a job selling insurance, which she said she hated, and bought the little house where she still lives. She stuck it out in the job for a couple of years and then went to work at Wal-Mart in 1996 as a cashier. She left that job and began running her own "rolling store" where she would buy foods with coupons and resell them, making a little profit for her and saving the customers a little at the same time.
Thomas said she has finally found her niche in life with Carlisa, Inc.
Her budget allows for some help, but Thomas usually does the job herself and leaves the money in the budget to allow for more food and the cost of gas to deliver the food.