With great Lions tickets, dinner at my dad’s and a 5 a.m. wake-up call for Black Friday, I honestly felt that I was going to be “the man,” when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving weekend traditionally. Boy was I a turkey.
This past weekend, Russell “Tae” Smith, a public relations sophomore at Eastern Michigan University, showed his thanks to the universe by making sure to give back to the less fortunate families in Detroit, something he’s done and enjoyed for about 10 years.
“I love every aspect of fulfilling families with meals, clothing items and smiles,” said Smith.
This past weekend, Smith, whose knowledge of personal branding helped him create his own personal brand, The Xtraordinary Gentlemen LLC, not only assisted him with excelling in business, but also philanthropy.
Smith spent the past few weeks collecting food and financial donations to create Thanksgiving meal baskets filled with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pretty much all of the works needed for a nice family Thanksgiving dinner to give to Detroiters who don’t have the means to afford it.
To ensure that he could make sure that he can help provide as many families as possible to have Thanksgiving dinner, Smith and his equally passionate crew worked hard to secure donations from companies like Av8erz LLC, The Fashion Hive Boutique and a clothing line called Kill the Hate LLC.
Kill the Hate LLC, according to Smith, is “a clothing line with the intent of mentoring youth males in the community.”
The charismatic entrepreneur’s brand, The Extraordinary Gentlemen LLC, also wants to focus on enlightening young “at risk” males in the community about potential careers available through hard work and education like marketing or engineering.
Along with feeding 1,000 families this year with the Thanksgiving baskets, he also passed out bagged lunches to the youth community of Detroit’s Cass Corridor.
Smith said, “I have a strong love for uplifting the community for which I live.”
Even on Black Friday, Smith is filled with the giving spirit.
“I always go out,” he said. “Whatever I buy is Christmas gifts for my friends and family.”
While Smith goes all out making sure he gives love to the less privileged, there are aspects of Thanksgiving where he takes a lot in.
“Dressing and cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie… I’m a sucker for desserts,” he said.
Many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving with carb-loaded meals and football. Smith will celebrate with community service and watching basketball.
Smith will be in New York cheering on his niece, a basketball player on the Ole-Miss Lady Rebel’s team who’ll be facing Stony Brook. Besides that, enjoying good food with great family is atop his agenda.