GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - It's a Thanksgiving tradition in Grand Rapids that feeds people who are facing homelessness or struggling. Mel Trotter Ministries hosted its 23rd annual Thanksgiving Community Meal on Thursday.
700 volunteers prepared and served meals to nearly 2,000 people at the Devos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids.
The meal included all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, from; turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls and more.
Organizers say volunteers cooked 800 pounds of sweet potatoes and 1,600 pounds of turkey.
"This is an opportunity for the community to come together and to share a meal together," said Dennis Vankampen, CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries. "Specifically anyone in the community that doesn’t have an opportunity to have a thanksgiving meal is welcome in."
The meal is hosted each year with the hope that it will provide comfort and a warm meal to those who may not have any other options.
"Been down here for twenty years, like I said and I see struggle everyday in the neighborhood," said Linda Krug, a guest at the community meal. "I’ve been through my own struggles and it’s just nice so we can all come together."
"Especially two people like us that don’t have vehicles where we can get to our families and stuff. Coming here with a nice warm hot meal, it gives us something to be thankful for and blessed," said Jessica Grant, a guest at the community meal.
But these blessing wouldn't be made possible without the sponsorships, donations and helping hands of 700 volunteers.
"It’s just wonderful that they’re able to come and be along others, and wonderful for me to be able to be here," said Janis Petrini, a volunteer at the community meal. "To have and share a meal with them and hear their story and I know for the people it’s a blessing to be around others on Thanksgiving."
To learn more about Mel Trotter Ministries, click here.