'Working poor' among those served at community Thanksgiving meal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

'Working poor' among those served at community Thanksgiving meals

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mass Thanksgiving dinners feed the needy yet vary in purpose across Louisville.

The chef, staff and volunteers had been preparing turkey, dressing, side dishes and desserts for weeks in advance of the noon meal at St. Vincent de Paul's Open Hand Kitchen on Jackson Street.

Organizers always expect a full house, but note the dinner and associated services they provide now go out to a diverse group of clients all year, not just the stereotypical "street person."

SVDP communications director Linda Romine says workers are helping people who are not necessarily homeless, but represent a group she calls "the working poor." And their numbers have increased since the recession.

"These are people who maybe work minimum wage jobs. They may be even two-parent families. They bring their children here, their grandchildren if they're raising grandchildren, just to make ends meet and stretch their food budgets," Romine said.

Hundreds of volunteers helped serve one of the city's largest meals for the homeless at Hotel Louisville, Wayside Christian Mission's shelter and hotel on West Broadway. They planned to serve 2800 people by the day's end.

Wayside sees a surplus of volunteers for Thanksgiving dinner, but asks for volunteers to help during the rest of the year.

"(At) Christmas and Thanksgiving we get a lot of advertising and have a lot of cameras down. But you have to remember, they serve the homeless and the needy 365 days a year. Three meals and two snacks. You can't do it with just the workers that come along. They need volunteers all the time, either to serve or work in the kitchen," a volunteer named Jim said.

Mayor Greg Fischer and his family served meals at the Salvation Army's Center of Hope on South Brook Street. He also echoed the call for more volunteers to help the needy outside of the holidays. Those who've served their country need extra attention.

"One of the things that we've committed to is zero homelessness for veterans, that we'll be working on further from here on out. Lots of challenges there with mental illness, PTSD. But there is no shortage of people in this community that will step up and help and for that I am truly thankful," Fischer said.

Organizers expected to serve more than 400 meals at the Salvation Army.

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