Mission to serve up Three Days of Thanksgiving
Not many organizations invite the whole community to Thanksgiving dinner year after year, offering up a feast that lasts three days and doesn't cost a dime.
Guests don't even need to bring a macaroni salad.
But Crossroads Mission has a little practice under its belt. The Yuma nonprofit began serving its Three Days of Thanksgiving nine years ago and has been sharing food and fellowship with thousands of people ever since.
Leaders at Crossroads say the meals reflect an important mission dedicated to filling hearts much more than just hungry tummies.
“The holidays can be the most depressing time of the year for someone who is homeless,” said Myra Garlit, executive director for Crossroads Mission. “The homeless often don't ‘fellowship' because of how they've been treated in the past. They are untrusting and reserved. Showing people that we care lets them know that there is hope for tomorrow.”
She added that holiday meals are a powerful opportunity for families to spend quality time together, offering a true boost to the soul for clients benefiting from Crossroads' numerous programs.
“The clients who are in the drug/alcohol program appreciate the opportunity to spend time with their family. For the rehab program and the homeless program, we work to bring about family reunification. These are some of the most touching moments at the mission — family restoration.”
Crossroads' invitation extends past its own circles, however. Anyone in the community needing a place to dine — or someone with whom to dine — is invited to enjoy the event's many tables.
About 3,500 people are served each Thanksgiving.
The meals will be served from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the main campus of Crossroads Mission, 944 S. Arizona Ave.
Meals will be delivered for people who are elderly, handicapped or mentally ill without family in town. To arrange for a meal, call Betty at 580-2787. About 300 meals are delivered each year during Three Days of Thanksgiving.
This level of hospitality obviously requires a great deal of community help, ranging from volunteering to donating food.
Volunteers will be asked to serve at any point from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, depending on whether they want to prepare, serve or clean up after the event. People wanting to serve should arrive by 9 a.m.
“Just being here and being part of giving back is a great experience. We have many parents and grandparents who bring their children and grandchildren to volunteer the day,” Garlit said. “It's great to teach the children to be of service, not just at the holidays but all year.”
She added that Crossroads accepts as many volunteers as possible throughout the Three Days of Thanksgiving.
“We sometimes have volunteers bumping into each other, but we have a great time of fellowship. We put them to work everywhere — in the pantry, outside food storage, meals for the homebound, voucher store and other places.”
The mission also needs desserts of any kind to be donated, according to Barbara Rochester, special events and public relations director.
“We also desperately need cash donations,” Rochester said, adding that the mission accepts donations via credit cards, cash or check. “Donations can be dropped off 24/7.”
In December, Crossroads will host another annual favorite: the Three Days of Christmas. Those meals will be served Dec. 23-25.
For more information, call 783-9362.