Give back this Thanksgiving

By Hailey Van Parys

Giving back on Thanksgiving is a tradition for some families.

“People are thankful for what God gave them around this time of year,” Good News at Noon Assistant Director Beth Oropeza said. “We are reflecting on how much we’ve been given.”

The homeless shelterhosts a yearly Thanksgiving dinner for families in need and can use volunteers in three different areas: setup, sorting and cleanup.

Oropeza said she needs people to help set up at the shelter at 979 Davis St. in Gainesville the few days before Thanksgiving.

“We could really use people to help us out,” Oropeza said. Donations to cover costs also are accepted.

Businesses and organizations will be sending donations that will need to be sorted, including six or seven turkeys. Hams, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and desserts also will be served.

Red Oak Sanitation Service is one business dropping off canned goods daily to the headquarters of Good News at Noon. Oropeza said they would be a big help to supplying the foods for the dinner.

Good News at Noon will also be handing out winter clothing at the dinner, as well as selling T-shirts to volunteers.

“We are trying to serve people, in the best way,” Oropeza said.

Other people will be served in Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Dahlonega with boxes of food from Under The Bridge Ministries this Saturday.

“We want to make sure people who can’t provide for themselves have the chance with our boxes,” said Heather Meyer, CEO for Under The Bridge.

The organization, which works to help the homeless and those in poverty, is asking for a $25 donation to cover the cost of a box for one family.

Also on Saturday, Under The Bridge will host a banquet especially for the homeless and disabled.

“We wanted to give them a hot meal … since they wouldn’t be able to heat up what’s in the box,” Meyer said. She also said she hoped to provide them a family environment and fellowship at the banquet.

Two teams of around 150 people will make sure around 200 boxes get delivered and more are fed at the banquet.

“It takes a village to run something like this,” Meyer said.

Those interested in helping to pack and load should report at 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday at Celebration Church at 5560 Thompson Mill Road in Hoschton.

Those interested in assisting with the Thanksgiving dinner banquet should report at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Way Community Center at 857 Bradford St. SW in Gainesville.

“We feed at The Way every month,” Meyer said.

In order to be added to their volunteer list, send a message to their Facebook page with your name, phone number and email address.

Under The Bridge relies 100 percent on donations for all events.

According to its Facebook page, “anything you or anyone else can give is greatly appreciated. If you fill out your mailing info on the donation page you will receive a tax deductible letter also.”

L.A.M.P. Ministries, a faith-based nonprofit serving Northeast Georgia disadvantaged youth, is serving up a Thanksgiving meal as well.

The event will start at 11 a.m. Saturday at 839 Jesse Jewell Parkway. So far, they have about 35 volunteers set to help.

“We are blessed to have so many volunteers this year,” founder Mary Mauricio said.

They will serve turkey, dressing, gravy and other traditional Thanksgiving foods. A prayer tent also will be set up for anyone who wants it, Mauricio said.

The Salvation Army is also hosting a Thanksgiving dinner.

Volunteers should report to their headquarters between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 711 Dorsey St. in Gainesville on Thanksgiving Day.

For more information or to make a donation, visit or call 770-531-0135.

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