Eight years ago, Tommy Arnold noticed there was a significant number of students who did not have a place to spend their Thanksgiving holiday. For these students, the cost of being LGBT included the loss of their support system. Their stories led to the first Alternative Thanksgiving event at UofL. The event brought students and community members together for a shared dinner, in a safe and welcoming location. This simple idea of a home-cooked meal and a network of support has become one of the most treasured student events of the entire year.
The Alternative Thanksgiving is entering its eighth consecutive year in 2016 and this year we’re reaching deeper into our community to grow and expand the care needed for these students. Therefore, we established the Feast on Equality event in 2012.
At our first Feast on Equality event in 2012, we had 320 guests and raised over $86,000 that will go in support of the Feast on Equality Fund to provide ongoing support for LGBT students at the University of Louisville. Due to the success in our first year, we were named Louisville’s Best Inaugural Event of 2012 by Nfocus Magazine! In 2013, Feast on Equality SOLD OUT at over 475 guests and raised $104,000 for the LGBT Center at UofL! The event sold out again in 2014 and raised a staggering $140,000 and was named as one of the best parties by Nfocus Magazine! Most recently, in 2015, we SOLD OUT at over 500 guests and raised over $200,000! In 2016 we decided that it was time to expand, so that we could impact even more LGBTQ youth in the Louisville community.