Thanksgiving Day at Helping Up Mission is always a special and fun time. Every year there is lots of really tasty food and we always share it with new friends. Some of our new friends are folks living nearby and looking for a good meal, while others are volunteer servers who take the time to come and serve the meal.
Many of our volunteers come and serve for a couple of hours here and then go on to a Thanksgiving dinner with their families elsewhere. Others just decide to just make our Thanksgiving dinner their Thanksgiving dinner. They come and serve, then sit down and eat themselves and then just hang out with everybody else. They might even go watch a little football or even take a nap, too!
It is not all that uncommon for us to have more volunteers than we actually need here on Thanksgiving Day, because so many people are so willing to roll up their sleeves and go to work serving others. This year our Volunteer Services said that my Program staff had done such a good job getting men reconnected to their families, that most of them were having Thanksgiving dinner away (!) and we had fewer men in the cafeteria than expected. So what did our volunteers do? After serving everybody else, they just sat down and talked to the people they were serving. It was awesome – all over the cafeteria, folks were engaged in meaningful conversations over a warm cup of coffee and good food.
While our volunteers did not work as hard as usual, I think they had a much greater spiritual impact this Thanksgiving than ever before. Their interest in the people they came to serve and their conversations about significant and spiritual things was the greatest Thanksgiving service they could ever hope to provide.
The Helping Up Mission family is a big one and includes the many folks who support us financially and in prayer, as well as those who come down, roll up their sleeves and serve. Thanks to all of you who volunteered your time and energy this Thanksgiving – you made it a special day here for us.
Pastor Gary Byers
Director of Spiritual Life