Because not everyone can celebrate Thanksgiving by sharing a home-cooked meal over conversation with family or friends, one local agency set out to fill that void.
MorningStar Mission Ministries opened its doors Saturday to allow clients and the Joliet-area community for its annual Thanksgiving Feast.
Eloise Crabb, the agency’s chief operating officer, said it’s important to open the event to the public.
The agency sees the most need this time each year, officials said.
Joliet resident Tammeka Turner said celebrating Thanksgiving is usually tough because her aunt died at this time of year. She said the Thanksgiving Feast is helpful.
“A lot of people don’t have family or don’t have a hot meal,” she said.
Crabb said putting on the Thanksgiving Feast is a big production.
“This takes a whole day to put together,” she said.
MorningStar Mission Ministries turned to local businesses to provide food, and they filled the need, officials said.
From turkey and stuffing to green beans and salad, everyone that dropped in had a meal to enjoy.
A group of volunteers took to the East Side Café at MorningStar Mission Ministries to help make the Thanksgiving Feast possible.
Among those serving meals were U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, Joliet City Council members Sherri Reardon and Pat Mudron, and Will County Board member Mark Ferry.
“The gentlemen who are in our program cooked this meal for us,” Crabb said.
Foster said dropping in to serve meals means a lot to him.
“All the time my children were growing up, I would take them once or twice a year to places like MorningStar because it’s so important that everyone understand how different people’s lives are and how even someone that does everything right can end up having their lives go off the rails,” he said. “When that happens, it’s essential that places like MorningStar offer a friendly hand up.”
Foster said he’s noted the faces of a number of children entering the East Side Café for the Thanksgiving Feast.
“The children come in and they’re so anxious,” he said. “It’s now noon, and I wonder for some of the children if it’s actually breakfast. You don’t know, but this is why I fight so hard to get school lunches and school food generally fully funded at the federal level. There’s always a big fight every year in Congress whether we’re going to squeeze down the budget or fund it.”