This week was a reminder to me that Thanksgiving isn't just a date in the calendar.
On Tuesday November 1st , we (and by that I mean mostly our volunteers) came together to serve up to our street friends a wonderful Thanksgiving meal from historic Knox Presbyterian Church at the corner of Lisgar and Elgin. We chose this week in order to stretch out our friends' opportunities to enjoy a special traditional Thanksgiving dinner since various organizations generally provide them around the actual holiday. (We do this for our other special meals, Christmas and Easter, as well.)
On Wednesday, at our weekly IVOS drop-in, this same meal was shared amongst our Veteran friends. Later that evening, the youth in our Innercity Arts program also enjoyed this truly made-with-love offering.
It goes without saying that the meal was enjoyed and appreciated by everyone who dug into the turkey and mashed potatoes with all the trimmings - and pie. There weren't many dishes that were not completely scraped clean. But this is not really a story about the food.
This, and the other special meals OIM provides, happen because of the dedication and hearts of volunteers. There are the coordinators, the list checkers, the food buyers, the cooks and sous-cooks, the deliverers, the servers, the sorters, the hot chocolate makers, the runners (those bringing the food from kitchen to friend), the setters-up, the tearers-down, the placemat makers, the dishwashers, the cleaners, the sign-makers, the minglers ....
There can be challenges to overcome to get everything in place: sometimes it's weather (but not thankfully this week); always it's parking (or rather lack thereof); often there are delivery glitches; occasionally there are oddities happening in the area (earlier this year a film crew took up the entire length of the street, impacting deliveries). Nevertheless, our amazing volunteers persevere. Food is served, bodies are fueled, and relationships renewed.
I had my time earlier in October to give thanks for all of my blessings in a warm place with a loving family. This week I give thanks for our extended OIM family who gave so much to show in action what Thanksgiving is truly all about. In gratitude,
~Margo, Managing Director