Note: This article was submitted by long-time HELPS Ministry volunteer Terina Erb
We had such a beautiful Thanksgiving Day to hold a special dinner at the HELPS Ministry in St. Charles for area families and individuals in need and without the resources or connections to have a dinner of their own. On this Thanksgiving, HELPS Ministry filled that void, with help from Food For Friends.
A few hours prior to the event, over 20 volunteers arrived energetically to the ministry to set up and get the gym ready for Thanksgiving dinner. The set up consisted of tables and chairs, decorations throughout the gym, and food set up in preparation for the meal. The gym looked amazing and the volunteers were all smiles and full of anticipation for the serving event.
About 2:00 p.m., families aind individuals started to arrive. Our volunteers greeted them with choruses of “Happy Thanksgiving” and were treated in return with smiles and “Happy Thanksgiving’ greetings.
After our guests were all sitting, a prayer was given and communion was offered to all. The volunteers then served the meal family style and a whole turkey was actually carved at each table. All the guests enjoyed digging into the turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, pasta, veggies and dessert. Music was playing and the place was lively.
A family of ten showed up a bit late and was hesitant to walk in at first, but they were soon greeted with smiles and more choruses of “Happy Thanksgiving!”. So they walked in and the volunteers made them feel very welcomed. They too were served family style and you could just see the warm feelings of love and happiness fill the table.
In all, about 120 people were served and everyone was smiling and stomaches were satisfied. After the meal few guests even got up and danced to the music!
As we went around to the tables, we talked to many of our guests. Some of the homeless that we talked to said they were impressed that their food was not served on paper plates. That made the meal even that more special. We heard a number of guests ask when the next event would be and how they could become more involved with the HELPS Ministry and programs. Finally, our hearts were touched when at one table a homeless child said “This is the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.”
So, we can truly say that this event was a complete success.