Good News at Noon, a shelter and ministry in Gainesville, serves homemade meals every day of the year, and on Thursday, its Davis Street dining room welcomed the community for a traditional Thanksgiving lunch and dinner.
The usual Thanksgiving staples were served by more than 50 volunteers, including turkey, ham, dressing, potatoes, green beans and gravy. And after people finished their meals, they were able to pick up groceries, clothing and to-go boxes with leftovers to take with them.
Shelter manager Antoine Harris said he enjoyed seeing the community come together for the holiday. Some of the Good News at Noon regulars have family that they visit on Thanksgiving, but many of the people who come by often spend the holiday there, he said.
“It’s good to see them laugh and have a little stress taken off of them because they’ll be able to eat good for at least today,” Harris said.
Damon Flynn stopped by for lunch on Thursday. He said he often comes to Good News at Noon. He is originally from Chattanooga and has been in Gainesville for about three years, working at local poultry plants and now for a plastics company.
“Gainesville has been nice,” he said.
Mario Flores of Gainesville ate lunch at Good News at Noon on Thursday. He said he has been coming by for about five years and has met friends there.
“The people come every day for lunch, so there’s a lot of people that I know in here,” he said.
James Wascher of Jefferson brought his children to volunteer Thursday, a family tradition for them. They may come back with some neighbors next month, he said.
“I want (my children) to see how blessed we are with what we have, and there’s people out there that need our help,” Wascher said.
Harris said the Thanksgiving meal was just one day to give back, and the need persists year-round.
“If everybody would come together and do this on a day-to-day basis, we could make a big impact in this community, not just here but across the world,” he said.