LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time since the pandemic, Wayside Christian Mission is resuming its full-scale holiday celebration for the homeless.
With only hours to spare, Wayside workers were on a mission Wednesday to ensure anyone in need can walk through the doors of Hotel Louisville and receive three hot meals on Thanksgiving Day.
"We try to make them feel like they are at family's house, at grandma's house," said Nina Moseley, chief operating officer at Wayside.
It's an operation that has continued for more than a decade, with the mission serving between 300-400 meals on Thanksgiving Day. In the past, those meals have been served at Wayside on Market Street, and then later on Jefferson Street before it moved to Hotel Louisville, which is run by the mission.
Moseley said the people they help are considered family members.
"Its really important for families that we give them that experience, and that we treat them like family and let them know that there are people in the community who care about them," she said.
In 2020, the shelter scaled back after implementing COVID-19 restrictions, but it's back in full force in 2022 — something that couldn't happen without staff and the help of many volunteers.
Some of those volunteers may not know they're needed again, so Moseley has this message:
"We are really, really hoping that they come back now ," she said. "We ask people if they want to come, please come, because we need that help."
While many sacrifice a few hours with family, Richard Rosa said organizing items the day before Thanksgiving has become part of his 15-year tradition.
"I usually come the day before Thanksgiving," Rosa said. "I come in here and help straighten up their pantry. There is a certain degree of happiness to be able to do this."
On the ultimate day to be thankful, Mosley said the highlight of the event is seeing families who once sat in the chairs on the opposite side of the table. And she is grateful for the people who donate their time and energy to make it happen.
"We are a small staff," she said. "If we didn’t have the volunteers to come in and do all the work, we could not do it."
Hotel Louisville is located at 120 West Broadway in downtown Louisville. Mosley said they'll start serving meals at 5 a.m. Thursday.
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