Volunteers bring Thanksgiving to thousands in need

Thousands of homeless and seniors in need got a hot Thanksgiving meal

The Union Gospel Mission served more than 1,000 meals to the homeless in Portland on Thanksgiving. (KOIN)
The Union Gospel Mission served more than 1,000 meals to the homeless in Portland on Thanksgiving. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Volunteers served meals to thousands in need in Portland this Thanksgiving through charitable organizations.

At the Union Gospel Church, volunteers served a Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and anyone else who needed it.

Organizers prepared more than 1,300 meals for the day. Last weekend, Union Gospel also prepared 600 Thanksgiving baskets for families in the area.

After a resource for pies fell through earlier this week, organizers asked 100-120 pie donations. They ended up receiving more than 400 pies thanks to community members who chipped in.

Thousands of meals were also delivered to home-bound seniors through Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels volunteers prepare thousands of Thanksgiving dinners for seniors in the Portland area. (KOIN)
Meals on Wheels volunteers prepare thousands of Thanksgiving dinners for seniors in the Portland area. (KOIN)

The Thanksgiving meal consisted of roast turkey and gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, peas and carrots, rolls and pumpkin pie with whipped topping.

“We are providing them with a hot, nutritious meal so they can have a nice holiday dinner,” Volunteer Coordinator Robert Straker said.

Volunteers at 5 Meals on Wheels centers in the Portland Metro area put the meals together and drivers delivered them to seniors. Straker said volunteers are community members and groups from companies in the area.

Meals on Wheels provides for those who might otherwise go without a meal. Many are shut ins or don’t have family or friends.

“We provide more than just a meal here at Meals on Wheels,” Straker said. “We also want to know that those people who might be shut ins, that they can reach out to us. That we are here for them, that they can communicate with us and we are willing to sit down for a little while and talk with them and be like a friend or a companion for them for that little while. So they have that chance to connect and they aren’t left feeling left alone and isolated.”

Meals on Wheels delivered about 3,000 meals on Thanksgiving 2016.

“It’s not just a day of thanks. It’s a day of giving,” Staker said. “That’s what we’re doing here at Meals on Wheels. We’re giving back to the community, to those in need.”