No homeless city wide dinner this year
By Megan Boatwright
Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Over the past 3 years, nearly 2,000 people have enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal at the annual "Unity in Community" event.
But, organizers are ending the tradition, opting to do something new instead.
Some of the organizations involved have long tradition of serving Thanksgiving meals from their facilities. So "Unity in the Community" decided to let each agency do its own thing and offer something new.
"It was most heartwarming," says Joe Ford, who attended the city wide dinner last year. "It was a good thing for the city."
Now the event the homeless community, and people like Joe Ford, have grown to love won't happen in 2010.
"This year is just a little bit different," says Kimberly George with the Salvation Army.
George says the group of charities who organized the city-wide dinner talked it over and decided to simplify.
"It's really to make the best us of our resources," she says. "Their dollars and time."
The Homeless Community will still have plenty of options. The Rescue Mission has a 35 year tradition of hosting a free meal at its facility Thanksgiving Day, something that continued during the last 3 years.
"We're not opposed to a large meal," says Donald Baer with Rescue Mission. "We think it's a good thing, we like seeing community participation. Because it's not necessarily being held this year doesn't mean we're not on the same page."
The Community Kitchen will also host a meal Thanksgiving Day. This year there will be a new Wednesday option as well.
"We're gonna have a big carnival festival," says George. "It's gonna be a lot of fun."
George says it's about options, giving the homeless and low-income two warm meals instead of one.
"What we wanted to do is provide them with something a little bit extra special," she says.
The carnival at the Salvation Army will be the day before Thanksgiving from 2-6 p.m. The Rescue Mission will serve its meal from 11-2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. The Community Kitchen will also begin serving at 11 a.m.