In keeping with their tradition of serving warm meals to those less fortunate, the Bowery Mission in New York will once again open its doors on Thanksgiving to the thousands who will walk through.
Meals will be served several times during the day at 227 Bowery between Prince and Rivington Streets. The meals will be served at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. with additional meals being added throughout the day as needed.
The Bowery Mission has served the homeless and hungry since 1879 with this year marking the 134th Thanksgiving dinner put on by the mission. More than 7,000 people from all five boroughs of New York City will enjoy a warm meal.
For several weeks the organization has gathered food and gifts for the annual event. In addition to a turkey dinner guests will receive a new coat and a "blessing bag" of winter clothes and hygiene items, while kids will be given toys.
"Rather than determining a person's eligibility for services, investigating their immigration or housing status, assigning them a number or taking fingerprints, we simply seek to meet their specific need, no questions asked. We do this based on our conviction that each person is God's creation and has infinite worth to God," James Winans, chief development officer at The Bowery Mission, previously told The Christian Post.
In helping with this enormous effort the Bowery Mission were partners The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. and Whole Foods Market. Their actions were also supported by Deutsche Bank, EMM Group, Heart of Tea and Toys For Tots. To help serve the several thousands of people expected more than 600 volunteers will be assisting on Thanksgiving Day.
Winans says the organization primarily serves adults, but it is seeing more families reach out for help. Homelessness has increase due to cuts in housing subsidies and food stamps, he noted. He also says The Bowery Mission outreach events offer more than a hot meal to the needy, they are also an invitation to a deeper life change.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), over 600,000 people were homeless in January 2013, and 65 percent of them were living in emergency shelters, while 35 percent were living in the streets. Nearly 140,000 were underage children, though experts predict statistic numbers could be much higher.