A HOPE Thanksgiving penned by HOPE’s Shelter Director, Danielle Holmes
Thanksgiving for Hope started the day before. One of the clients came up during check-in at 5:30 and had a whole cooked organic Turkey wrapped up and in his backpack. When I checked him in, he presented the turkey and said, “here, this is for you.” They proceeded to give me the bird, and I asked, “if we had turkey tonight, you all wouldn’t get spoiled on it not enjoy the main event tomorrow”? They replied, “Oh no, certainly not.” We took that Turkey into the kitchen and heated it. They all enjoyed it.
On Thanksgiving Day, one of my co-workers and I saddled up and rode out with brown paper bag lunches, including flyers inviting them to the dinner. We drove around Longmont and found 30 individuals experiencing homelessness and gave them all sack lunches. We were also able to offer, in addition to the personal invitation dinner that evening, socks, gloves, hand warmers, and bottle waters to individuals living on the streets that afternoon.
We set up the dining area with decorations of pumpkins, gourds, and horns of plenty. We had gracious volunteers that supplied both the feast and service. There was turkey and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, green bean casserole, and roles, and you can’t forget the gravy. We had that too. It certainly was a feast and was enjoyed by many. We had almost 30 individuals show up that night, totaling 60 individuals experiencing homelessness fed by HOPE on Thanksgiving.
The following night, we enjoyed a movie. We set up a projector and put on Guardians of the Galaxy. A very loving volunteer sponsored the event with eight pizzas from a local chain. When talking with a client during the event, there was still a somber tone. One of the clients mentioned, “homelessness doesn’t have holidays or vacations; we’re still here, and we’re still in the situation.”
Despite the three-day-long festivities, there was still the reality that these individuals were without their families. They are without housing and without the capabilities of providing for themselves in a self-sufficient way. As an individual and as an organization, we did everything possible to make this time special. The feast and festivities were enjoyed, but I also know their current situation hampers whatever experience they have. Despite that, there is gratitude. There’s gratefulness for a warm meal and a warm bed. There’s gratefulness for the clothing and shoes that we provide. There’s gratefulness for the care and attention that we give as an organization. Most of all, there’s gratefulness for our community that supports the work we do!