Shelter Provides Thanksgiving Dinner for Homeless

The Pine Street Inn in Boston has been serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless for decades

The Pine Street Inn in Boston has been serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless for decades. It's a bittersweet day for those less fortunate who have no place else to go for the holiday.

Dozens of volunteers got their marching orders. Hundreds of tables were decorated and places were set as the kitchen at the Pine Street Inn started churning out the food.

There was one ton of mouth-watering turkey, 70 gallons of savory gravy and 1,500 pounds of vegetables.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined Police Commissioner William Evans and other elected officials to do the carving.

It's a festive day at New England's largest provider for the homeless, but it's also one of the toughest.

Pine Street Inn President Lyndia Downie said, "It's such a reminder of what you don't have. Everybody's going somewhere, but you're here. You're kind of stuck here. So we are trying to make it festive. We're trying to make it nice."

The need for the homeless is greater than ever in Boston.

Hundreds were displaced last month when the bridge leading to the Long Island housing facility was condemned.

That combined with cold temperatures early in the season has stretched resources.

But Walsh says a comprehensive plan is in the works for both the city’s homeless and addicted.

Walsh says, "At the end of the day, the closing of the Long Island Bridge could be a blessing for the homeless community in the city of Boston and the addicted community in the city of Boston because we are going to come back stronger with programs."

Every one of these people have their own story of homelessness to tell and most don't fit the stereotype that many expect.

Ron Taylor says he lost his accounting job when the economy fell apart.

He said, "You see a homeless person, there's a bum, you don't want to work, things of that nature, but that's not true. This was hard for me to do. As an accountant, you don't want to be the face of homelessness. So I had to suck in my pride a little bit."

Still, Taylor is feeling very thankful for the Pine Street Inn this year and, sitting over heaping plates of hot food, many of the diners at the Thanksgiving feast were feeling thankful too.

In addition to the Pine Street Inn's Boston headquarters, Thanksgiving meals are served at 37 other housing sites in Boston and Brookline as well as to the homeless living on the streets.

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