PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Pre-Thanksgiving Day Celebration at London Oaks was an event to help the community but also change the stigma.

“We are out here trying to give away and show people, love,” Darnell Riddick of Riddick Driven said. Riddick Driven sponsored the celebration along with Give Back2Da Block and Safe Harbor.

Darrell Redmond grew up in the London Oaks community and has done several of these events in London Oaks this year. He said it’s important to give the community opportunities they often don’t get.

“Prior to going to prison, I was the person who created the atmosphere that was in this community,” Redmond said. “It is a blessing to be able to come back inside the community. I was on one end of the situation and being a part of the solution.”

The Pre-Thanksgiving Celebration featured music, a bounced house and food. People could get a fresh haircut or braids in their hair for free.

“Hard times per se giving a haircut does relieve the pain sometimes. A whole lot of parents just can’t afford that,” Victor Gilmore, the owner of The Mobile Way, said.

Riddick also set up a table filled with clothes that people could look through. He said he was once homeless and wanted to give back and make sure people had some new clothes.

“I said when I get myself together, I am going to reach back,” Riddick said.

Redmond said people in the London Oaks community don’t hang out much outside and wanted to throw an event and get the kids outside their homes.

“You would probably never see this many people at one time feeling as though they can be run around and be carefree. People are scared to come out of their houses,” Redmond said.