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  • Writer's pictureOutreach

Outreach Thanksgiving 2019

This Thanksgiving, Outreach packed the Program Center for an evening of food, music, blessings, and a coat drive.

Every year in late November, families and friends gather together to give thanks for one another, for harvest, and for our blessings. We sit around tables with family and friends eating food, catching up, watching football, and uncomfortably discussing politics. But for many of the youth served at Outreach, Thanksgiving gatherings can be a challenge – or simply impossible.

Youth, staff and volunteers share their thanks before enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Outreach's Program Center

Every year, Outreach serves nearly 500 homeless young people, many of whom lack the luxury of celebrating one of America’s most popular holidays. Our youth may lack transportation, a place to gather, or the relationships with those they would celebrate. That's why every year, we invite current and former clients into the Program Center to celebrate Thanksgiving as a community.

“This celebration is a time for Outreach staff and volunteers to reflect on how thankful we are to serve such an incredible and resilient group of young people.” - Megan Rhea, Outreach Volunteer Manager

This year, Outreach also enjoyed music and invited two long-time supporting organizations – enVista and Elements Financial Credit Union. Both organizations are regular volunteers and advocates of Outreach. Testament to their support, enVista collected over 100 coats and jackets as part of a company-wide coat drive to provide some extra warmth to our youth this winter. Elements served food and cleaned after the event ended. The event would not have been a success without the hearts of these two incredible volunteer groups. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities!

“This is our 7th year partnering with Outreach and our 6th year collecting coats and serving a Thanksgiving meal to the youth in our community. It is a powerful experience to see the kids receive a family style Thanksgiving meal and leave with a brand new coat. For one evening the kids are able to experience well deserved love and support. We chose to partner with Outreach because of their ongoing commitment to teaching sustainability to the youth.” - Trish Stitz, enVista

While we are fortunate to offer a safe place and support to homeless youth in the form of basic needs – showers, laundry, meals, clothing – Outreach staff and volunteers make it a priority to make youth feel heard, known, and loved every day. Hosting a Thanksgiving gathering is just one small part of that effort.

This Thanksgiving, we invite you to reflect on your blessings and help homeless youth feel hopeful about their futures.

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