Curtis Gambler was thankful for the food and the people at Carmichael Outreach’s annual Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.
“It’s a very nice meal and I feel blessed,” he said, after enjoying his turkey and pumpkin pie in the parking lot. “I feel very comfortable with the people around here. It feels really nice, the street family around here.”
The non-profit organization expected to serve a few hundred people on Friday, some are homeless while others are living on pensions or social assistance or they are the working poor.
“There’s a lot of folks in this city who have to make decisions between whether or not they’d be able to go and buy their family a turkey meal and pay rent, or buy a turkey meal and pay for diapers for a baby or something like that,” said Tyler Gray, who works at Carmichael.
Carmichael Outreach serves regular lunches Monday to Friday, but Gray says the chance for a hot Thanksgiving meal is particularly important.
“It’s important for us to do this for the folks that we serve on a day-to-day basis so they get a chance to experience those same important family holidays that the rest of us take for granted every year.
Joey Reynolds is a regular at Carmichael and he appreciates the atmosphere of respect and community. He said it is wonderful to see the hard work of volunteers and staff members at Carmichael.
“They treat us as equals and we can all have a nice yummy lunch together and spend some quality time and talk and just be there for each other,” he said.
He has a roof over his head now thanks to the help of various non-profit organizations and churches, but he spent a winter on the streets and he remembers what it’s like to have nothing.
“I’m just happy that it’s Thanksgiving and it’s a wonderful day that brings people together,” he said. “Unity instead of separation in the community cause there’s so much separation in the community that people forget that there’s the less fortunate in the city and they turn a blind eye to many of us, but we’re part of this community.”
Reynolds said it’s nice to know that so many people care in the community.
Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission also served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to more than 500 people on Friday.