Springfield’s Open Pantry welcomed those who had no place to go for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
It’s a 43-year tradition, inviting the homeless, the hungry, and the lonely to a turkey dinner at the Springfield High School of Commerce cafeteria.
Different people from different walks of life were brought together by the need to share a meal with others. The homeless mingled with families who found themselves at loose ends.
“My mom passed away in 2016,” Thomas Richey told 22News. “My dad’s in Florida and all my other relatives are out. I can’t go to them for dinner.”
“I’m here because I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my family this year,” Janet Pinckney said. “My dad died and things are not the same.”
Frances Stewart told 22News that she’s no longer homeless, but the friendships formed during a previous Open Pantry holiday dinner were very meaningful. “I like being with my friends on Thanksgiving,” she explained. “I don’t like being alone [and] I would have been alone.”
Dozens of volunteers served Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds at the high school cafeteria. And other volunteers delivered hundreds of turkey dinners to the disabled and elderly unable to leave home.