The holiday season has begun here at Helping Up Mission. Thanksgiving was a great event for us again this year – the kitchen told me we cooked turkeys for 7 days. I understand we will also be eating turkey for the next 2 weeks. Actually friends of the Mission kept bringing food all week. It was a wonderful outpouring of love.
As usual, we had an incredible group of volunteers here to serve Thanksgiving dinner to everyone. There was an early shift who helped set up and then serve the first sitting. The second shift didn’t have nearly as many people to serve, so they invested their time not so much in serving food but in taking time to speak to others. In addition, there were a number of young people who made individual Christmas cards for every man in our Program (almost 400!).
Thank you all so much! But there was a fun and interesting postscript to Thanksgiving day at HUM. After we were all finished serving Thanksgiving dinner (noon-3 PM), three young ladies stopped out front and said asked if we needed any food. They had come from Washington to Baltimore to serve at another program which had already closed down for the day, so they didn’t get to do any serving. At that facility there was lots of food left over, so these three ladies packed a number of pans full of food in their car and headed out into the streets of Baltimore looking for some place to leave it. They drove down Baltimore Street and saw our lighted sign with the Cross on it and then a guy in a blue jacket marked “Peacekeeper.” They thought that looked promising, rolled down the window and asked if we needed any food.
When a car full of pretty girls pulls up outside and offers us free food…well, a dozen guys were there in a minute to happily unload the food. I went out and spoke to them and heard they hadn’t been able to serve anywhere. I told them we are serving dinner here in 30 minutes and they could serve a couple hundred guys before they went back to DC. They said yes.
When we got inside I met another young lady, a young man and her mother. They had also been looking for a place to serve on Thanksgiving and found us online. They stopped down and between the six of them, we had a second great serving of the same Thanksgiving dinner! I ate both times and it was at least as good the second time, if not better. In fact, I never thought the line for the evening meal would ever end – I think they were passing the word around the Mission about all the pretty ladies serving in the cafeteria.
In the end, Thanksgiving 2009 at Helping Up Mission was a great success. We ate great meals and made a bunch of new friends. And no man at Helping Up Mission felt neglected, forgotten or unappreciated. Thank you, Baltimore (and the suburbs and DC and everbody else), for caring!
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director