Among the many service choices we offer, Project SHARE has been actively involved with outreach volunteer work within the homeless communities of both Westchester County and New York City, partnering with the Midnight Run, Inc. In 1989, Hastings High School hosted our first annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless. This coming November 24th, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary Dinner. We will continue to “pay it forward” and to unconditionally give without any expectation of receiving back and in doing so, we will break bread yet again with over 500 men, women and children from all five boroughs in New York City and Westchester County. Approximately 300 students from area high schools and colleges are involved every year in our holiday celebration. Not only do we raise the money we need for the event, but we work long hard hours looking for vendors to donate what we require to provide this home-cooked meal to our many guests. We do the preparation and cooking ourselves, we provide buses to transport our guests, entertainment and babysitting for the children who come to share our feast.
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Our 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless
There is a strange comfort in knowing that as a group, we have all done the best we could to bring our guests and volunteers together for yet another family-style Thanksgiving feast. Donations are heartfelt, but not plentiful. Vendors have turned us away. We have more guests than ever, but somehow we will make this lean year as meaningful as those fuller, more substantial years when we had enough food to serve our guests with plenty to spare.
We had a midnight run this evening, too, and the chatter was all about the dinner. “Can I come, please? I missed the last two years and I really want to come back. Please can I come, too?” We heard a lot of that this cold night on the streets of Manhattan. We’re close to 500 guests now but we’ll make it work. I know we will.
And Sam is coming…somehow seeing Sam waiting for us to sign him up for the dinner, after being absent from our runs for 8 months or more, is another one of those comforts. Sam will be there and it makes the world entire seem happier and more inviting.
The dinner will be wonderful. We may have fruit baskets. We may not. I won’t know until later today, Sunday. The kids will come through as will the adult volunteers and the guests will embrace another evening created solely for them. I have a good feeling about this one. I just do.
And to those reading this, from all of us to all of you, have a warm and meaningful and very Happy Thanksgiving!
The dinner was an enormous success and we filled the banquet room at Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, New York with lots of love. We have been invited back for next year. We’ve already started planning.