Milly

Milly MacDonald enjoys dinner at the 2015 Jesus Was Homeless Love Your Neighbor Thanksgiving Dinner. The nonprofit is asking for volunteers and donations for its 9th annual event Nov. 24.

The season of giving is almost upon us and one local nonprofit is seeking volunteers for its annual Thanksgiving dinner. Jesus Was Homeless invites the community to give back Nov. 24 at the 9th annual Love Your Neighbor Thanksgiving dinner from 5:30-8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Parish on 203 Vaughn Road.

Community Relations Manager Ashley Harkness said the eight years leading up to this one has taught the nonprofit one key lesson: “We need more volunteers so that it’s a lot less chaotic.”

Specifically, “more kitchen and serving help so there’s not as much of a back up,” as well as table companions are in short supply, Harkness said.

This year, Harkness said Jesus Was Homeless anticipates between 800 to 1,000 people will attend the annual dinner.

“I’ve come to the realization that the folks who are living in motels and don’t have an opportunity to cook a meal, and that sets in an idea of lonlieness,” Harkness said. That lonlieness may build to thoughts of suicide, she continued.

No one eats alone when there are people volunteering as table companions to keep everyone company.

“This dinner can be a light through that hopelessness,” she said.

In addition to a homemade meal, a thrift store is also open throughout the night. Jesus Was Homeless needs donations of: coats, hats, gloves, blankets, new socks, toilet paper, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, tooth paste and tooth brushes (No clothing please).

Items may be dropped off at:

Comet Cleaners - 800 Hwy 248

Country Mart Hollister - 200 Southtowne Blvd

Country Mart Branson - 1447 State Hwy 248

Sun Fest Market - 225 Cross Creek Blvd

Price Chopper - 2210 W Hwy 76 Country Blvd

Kohl’s - 1001 Brnson Hills Parkway

Jesus Was Homeless - 2005 W Hwy 76

To some, Thanksgiving may be about all the different food or preparing for a day of Christmas shopping. For Harkness, she said Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to give back.

“It offers hope. It offers warmth,” Harkness said.

To sign up as a volunteer or for more information, visit JesusWasHomeless.org.

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