The city of Boston is making sure the homeless are not forgotten on Thanksgiving. Hundreds of volunteers, including sports legends and politicians, gathered at the Pine Street Inn to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Close to 800 pounds of mashed potatoes were served, 74 turkeys and 50 gallons of gravy. There was also 400 pounds of stuffing, 200 pounds of cranberry sauce and 205 assorted pies.
Organizers said they prepared more than 2,000 meals and had volunteers go out and deliver some to those who refused to leave the streets.
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"Guests want to do the same thing you and I want to do today— eat turkey and watch the game, so that's what we try to make happen," president of the Pine Street Inn Lyndia Downie said.
Volunteers decorated the dining room to make the shelter feel more like home. The placemats featured drawings from children. Afton Hennessey, 10, of Canton, spent the morning drawing hand turkeys and volunteering with her family.
"I hope this makes it feel like they have a family that loves them," Hennessey said.
Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh helped deliver pies to the shelter. They also joined a line of local dignitaries to carve the turkeys.
"It's about gratitude quite honestly. It makes you realize what you have in life," Walsh said.
For Tim Spencer, who has spent the last nine months at the shelter, the meal and kindness meant everything.
"You feel good about yourself and you know you have something to look forward to," Spencer said. "Without them, I would have nowhere to go."
Earlier in the day, Police Commissioner William Gross joined Walsh and Chara in the annual turkey carving contest at St Francis House.
350 people were served at the homeless shelter; a sit-down dinner with all the fixings.
"I’m really thankful to be here and have Thanksgiving; it’s almost like family to me here," said Edwin Jacobs Jr.
"I am thankful for my kids, my 16 grandkids and my fiancé and my new family that I have," Boston resident Icy Wiley said.
And everyone from shelter-goers to the Bruins’ captain had a reason to celebrate.
"I’m thankful for all these people who show up today," Chara said. "All the volunteers, mayor, commissioner; everyone who is helping other people."