Hundreds Gather for Feast

Robert Valencia gives thanks for the meal he is about to enjoy

The Lord’s Table serves up Thanksgiving dinner with all the
trimmings to those in need
Gilroy – Dried leaves, pine sprigs and paper turkeys adorned tables where families and friends, many of them homeless, broke bread together Thursday at the annual Thanksgiving gathering at the Lord’s Table.

“We try to make it like a home environment,” said Sue Moon, head of the food program that serves free meals throughout the year. “That’s why we have the music and decorations … It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re welcome to join us.”

Moon’s husband Tim and their son Quincy, 13, greeted several hundred guests as they streamed into the Saint Mary Parish gymnasium off First Street.

They were just two of the more than 100 volunteers who helped out – most of them cooking, cleaning or serving up turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and other traditional holiday foods.

Gary Kaczorowski was back cleaning dishes and helping out with other odd jobs after missing the event last year while deployed overseas. Kaczorowski was stationed in Iraq and Kuwait last holiday season with the Army heavy boats unit. Home with an injured knee, he said he did not intend to miss the chance to help.

“I felt I’m needed to give something back to those who have less,” said Kaczorowski, whose son and daughter also volunteer.

The good will was not lost on those attending.

“A lot of people show up here instead of being with their family,” acknowledged Ernie Andrews, one of the nearly 300 people who attended the Thanksgiving dinner. Andrews, who lives in a recreational vehicle that he moves from parking lot to parking lot throughout the city, eats at Lord’s Table several times a week.

Robert Glenn also lives in an RV and eats at Lord’s Table on a regular basis. He said the food does not always sit well with his sensitive stomach, but on Thursday he was more than satisfied.

“They’ve been very good with what they get,” Glenn said. “A lot of times the food’s delicious here. This is excellent today.”

Last year, Andrews was among the volunteers who helped serve up the food. Pointing out a few people who return year after year, he said, “people here really care.”

Raul Tellez, a 10-year volunteer at the event, took time away from his family once again to help cook for others. The decision to spend a part of Thanksgiving away from family was more difficult this year because his wife is sick.

“If I hadn’t done this,” Tellez said, “there would have been an emptiness in my heart.”

Moon said that by the time the doors closed at Saint Mary Parish at 4pm, they had served nearly all of the food, including 30 turkeys, 100 pounds of mashed potatoes and 75 pounds of stuffing. She said volunteers were as grateful as those who ate.

“The volunteers,” Moon said, “all said the same thing – ‘Thank you so much for letting us help.'”

She added that “if people weren’t able to help out today, they’re welcome to help out the rest of the year.”

The Lord’s Table serves free meals year-round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 5:30pm at Saint Mary Parish. To volunteer, call Moon at 842-7312.

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