OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Wanda Johnson is the CEO of the foundation named after her son Oscar Grant. "When I lost my son it was a terrible blow for me, so I felt depressed," says Johnson. She took that depression and turned it into a positive. For the last three years the foundation has given back to the non-profit organization Beyond Emancipation by preparing them full Thanksgiving feasts.
"Some macaroni and cheese, some potato salad…Did you make it yourself? I made the potato salad and the green beans," says Johnson. She says the holidays are a tough time for her family because it was nearly seven years ago that her son Oscar was shot and killed by BART police. Since then she's worked hard to rebuild her life and at the same time keep her son's legacy alive.
"That's what was on his heart, to help others. So we are living out his legacy by being able to help others," says Johnson. But on this day, the people who will benefit by the foundation's offering presented Johnson with flowers.
The Thanksgiving meal will feed up to 20 people in the Beyond Emancipation program who were formerly in foster care or probation. They say although the food is great, it’s more about the fellowship and what comes with it.
"A lot of people can donate things, but it’s about coming here, being here giving of themselves. Letting them know that we care about you," says Shante Spears of Beyond Emancipation.
"I have life and I have the opportunity to help someone else. Because that's truly what's it about," says Johnson. Residents of Beyond Emancipation say meeting Johnson meant a lot to them.
This holiday season they're truly grateful for those who take the time to put others first. "This house means everything gives us a roof over our head. They help us with gift cards, food cards," says Angelica Mata of Oakland.