“People smile a little bit more today”: Hundreds of homeless enjoy Thanksgiving feast at Denver Rescue Mission

“People smile a little bit more today”: Hundreds of homeless enjoy Thanksgiving feast at Denver Rescue Mission

Earlier than Harvey Martin dug into his heaping plate of Thanksgiving meals on the Denver Rescue Mission on Wednesday, he paused to hope.

It’s been a troublesome stretch on the streets currently. A gunman opened fireplace amid a crowd of homeless folks on Monday, killing one and injuring 4 others. On Sunday morning, an aged man was crushed and strangled to loss of life close to the Samaritan Home Homeless Shelter on Lawrence Avenue. Days earlier than, a good friend of Martin’s was stabbed close to Metropolis Corridor.

Martin regarded up from his plate. Throughout him had been hungry people like himself chowing down on turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, a festive ambiance engulfing the eating corridor.

“There’s been a whole lot of unhappiness earlier than Thanksgiving,” he mentioned. “However folks smile a little bit bit extra right now.”

Martin was one in all a whole lot of homeless individuals who confirmed as much as the Denver Rescue Mission’s annual Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday. It’s a uncommon likelihood for individuals who might not know the place their subsequent meal is coming from to take a seat again, calm down and rejoice the vacation with a sizzling meal, served proper to their desk.

“We understand the vacations is usually a powerful time for lots of those people,” Brad Meuli, president and CEO of Denver Rescue Mission, mentioned. “So we’re making an attempt to make their vacation a big day.”

The kitchen on the Mission bustled with exercise Wednesday morning, as workers and volunteers hurriedly prepped meals for two,000 folks.

Kevin Baker, the Mission’s new meals providers supervisor, oversaw the operation. With the joy of a child describing a Christmas want listing, Baker ran down the Thanksgiving feast menu: Sixty-five turkeys, 40 kilos of selfmade gravy, four,500 biscuits, 20 kilos of recent cranberry sauce, 65 kilos of stuffing, and the kicker — four,000 fried mashed potato balls.

“And none of it comes from a can!” Baker mentioned.

Baker labored at Disney World in Florida for 19 years earlier than relocating to Denver and now believes he has discovered his true calling.

“I’ve all the time felt the homeless really feel forgotten,” Baker mentioned. “These are folks, simply folks. This can be a likelihood for us to say, ‘Hey, we’re not trying down on you.’”

Jose Cordova used to observe dwell broadcasts of this identical Mission feast on the jail tv.

“They all the time regarded so good,” he mentioned. “It made my mouth water.”

When he received out, he got here to the Mission, which set him up with a close-by shelter. He needs he might spend the vacation together with his household again in California, however since he’s right here, Wednesday’s feast is the subsequent best choice.

“As we speak’s about being grateful you’re consuming,” Cordova mentioned.

The feast featured well-known volunteers reminiscent of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who for the 16th 12 months donned a specialty apron together with his title on the entrance and scanned the group to ship a sizzling plate to a close-by desk.

“Individuals right here come from households identical to I did,” he mentioned. “Good folks with some unhealthy breaks. Our measure as a society is a willingness to work to assist folks identical to these.”

Baker stood by the kitchen, watching as almost 60 volunteers bustled across the corridor, handing people meal after meal after meal.

“I would like folks to stroll away and say that this was the very best Thanksgiving meal they ever had,” Baker mentioned.

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