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‘Thanksgiving Grandma’ partners with Airbnb in new holiday tradition

Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton (Provided Photo/wandadench via X)

PHOENIX (WISH) –- The Arizona grandmother who accidentally texted a stranger seven years ago and ended with a new Thanksgiving tradition is opening her home to more strangers.

Wanda Dench is working with Airbnb this Thanksgiving to expand the season of giving. The company says it has partnered with Dench and Jamal Hinton to grow their Thanksgiving meal tradition, and after, it will donate proceeds to the relief organization Feeding America.

“To celebrate our eighth Thanksgiving together (yes, eight!), we’re partnering with @airbnb this year to host a couple extra seats at our table 🦃” Hinton wrote on Instagram. “Booking for our favorite holiday tradition opens November 14 at 11 a.m. MST at the link in our bios. Join us!”

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The Airbnb guests will get a catered Thanksgiving meal early, on Monday, with Dench and Hinton. The guest will also be given an overnight stay at Dench’s new home in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

“I said from the jump of our first Thanksgiving that I always wanted to have more people join our Thanksgiving and be able to celebrate with us and have the amount of fun that we have together,” Hinton told USA Today.

According to the Associated Press, the menu will include turkey and mashed potatoes, along with Dench’s favorite Costco pumpkin pie. AP also reports that the booking charge on Airbnb to sign up for the dinner and overnight stay is $16, which is a nod to the year Dench and Hinton met. 

Airbnb hasn’t said how much it plans to donate to Feeding America.

The tradition all started in 2016 with a group text about Thanksgiving dinner and it included, who Dench thought, was her grandson. She got a response back from one of the numbers asking “Who is this?” She replied saying “It’s grandma.” That’s when the mystery person asked for a picture to confirm who she was.

Wanda Dench said thought it was a strange request but took the selfie anyway. The stranger, Hinton, responded by saying “You’re not my grandma, but can I still have a plate?” and the two have been sharing Thanksgiving meals every year since. 

Dench has been dubbed “Thanksgiving Grandma” and now she and Hinton are using their claim to fame to help other people with the Airbnb partnership.

Dench is also using the holiday and fame to raise money for charity by selling other merchandise.

“Hello Twitter family , In honor of thanksgiving approaching , I am teaming up with the @StJude and @Jamalhinton12 to Sell these 2023 MacBook Pros for $600 only ! All proceeds will be going to charity , and one lucky person who buys a MacBook will be invited to thanksgiving!!!,” Dench posted online.