Sunday, November 29, 2009

More than a Meal

" 'A Fantastic Thanksgiving' at Mother Marianne's."

That was the headline in The Observer-Dispatch this past Friday (Nov. 27).

A reporter and a photographer visited the soup kitchen, mingling with volunteers and guests, and then visited the Rescue Mission across town.

Soup kitchen director Deacon Gil Nadeau told the reporter they expected to serve 200 meals of hot turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables. The scene was festive. Guests were feasting and chatting and sometimes swaying to tunes emanating from Sister Roberta Southwick's keyboard and mic.

One guest summed it up for the reporter:

"Being here makes it a fantastic Thanksgiving. These people here are just wonderful."

At the Rescue Mission, volunteers were serving nearly 300 turkey dinners and delivering another 600 to the home-bound, the Rev. Bill Dodge, executive director, told news media.

It, too, was a festive scene as the lonely, the homeless, the addicted, the jobless and the working poor were treated "like family."

Both Deacon Gil and Rev. Bill agreed on one thing: Thanksgiving is more than a meal.

The best part, Deacon Gil said, "is the camaraderie, having people come in here and enjoying a nice lunch together."

Noted Rev. Bill: "The meal is important, but so is human kindness, personal warmth and fellowship."