Thanksgiving day is a time of reflection and giving thanks for all that we have. If you are homeless, you are most likely going to be thankful for a warm meal, a place to sleep, a shower or even a place to wash up and just being somewhat warm or comfortable. Homeless people spend the majority of their time outside braving the elements, elements that can be very hot in the summer and down right deadly in the winter. The temperature was a frigid 24 degrees in the park at noon on Thanksgiving. You can imagine how cold it got when the sun went down and our homeless friends settled in for the night.

At AfterHours, instead of providing a hot turkey meal on Thanksgiving, we give the gift of warm undergarments. This year, we had 50 volunteers from other organizations or individuals who just wanted to help, join us at the park. They heard about Thankful for Long Johns on social media and from friends who were talking about it. It’s amazing how fast the word about “doing good” can spread.

AfterHours is at the park (Civic Center Park @ 14th and Broadway) every day at noon handing out sack lunches, bottled water and communion to anyone who is in line. We did our normal thing at the beginning of the line then had tables of long johns separated by size. Then we had tables of socks, blankets and other items that were donated by all of the volunteers who came to the park that day. We served more than 100 people in need on Thanksgiving. We couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone who came to the park, those who purchased long johns and sent them down to the park or those who gave generously on our site to raise money for the lunches, socks, long johns, sleeping bags and coast that AfterHours provides though out the year. We had a record turn out of volunteers and donations this year and hope that next year, we can give out as much as we did this year or more!

If you’d like to donate to AfterHours through out the year and not just on Thanksgiving, please consider making a donation.

(Written by AH member Meg Benjamin Wainio)

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