By Roseanne Tellez

CHICAGO (CBS)– An Englewood family, who is celebrating Thanksgiving with one less chair at the table this year, is using their holiday to increase community awareness about the opioid epidemic.

This year is Pamela Spivey’s first Thanksgiving without her son, Michael Aaron Mitchell.

“Everybody loved him,” she said.

Spivey remembers his bright eyes and big smile, until a car accident led to a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“They had over-prescribed him,” she said. “He was taking like 120 pills per month.”

She said she saw him saw struggle for years.

Mitchell overdosed last March at the age of 26.

Englewood, Michael’s childhood home, has been hit hard by opioid epidemic. Numbers released by the Urban League show almost half of opioid deaths in

Chicago are African Americans.

Thanksgiving at the family table would have been too difficult, so family and friends spent it feeding the hungry and lifting spirits.

They served a home-cooked meal in a vacant lot.

“To try to reach the young people and educate them on this deadly disease drug,” Spivey said. “Hopefully we can reach somebody, just somebody.”

Roseanne Tellez