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Mel Trotter Hosts 22nd Annual Thanksgiving Meal

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Mel Trotter Ministries
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Now in its 22nd year, Mel Trotter Ministries is hosting a free meal for individuals and families experiencing homelessness as well as anyone in the greater Grand Rapids community who might not otherwise have a Thanksgiving meal to attend. 

We used to host the community event at the mission, but it’s grown so much more than just those experiencing homelessness now we host anyone who might not have a community meal, it’s so large.”

Large enough to serve more than a thousand people who are in need of a good meal and good company.  Abbey Sladick is the VP of Communication at Mel Trotter Ministries.  She says the table is once again set to serve those in need.  Hundreds of volunteers and dedicated sponsors make it all possible.

“We could not do it without our volunteers.  We have 800 volunteers that serve but also sit at the tables with the guests and build relationships, know their story, get to know them so they don’t feel alone.  And certainly we couldn’t do it without hour sponsors. Meijer has been a sponsor, our premier sponsor for many years. But it’s also the sponsors, the churches, the families that come around and sponsor tables to make sure we’re able to cover the cost of the meal.”

Sladick says the day allows them to break bread and build relationships as well.

“Our mission is to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness and this Thanksgiving community meal is that coming to fruition and we’re able to walk alongside people who might not otherwise have a meal, might be shut in during the holidays, may not have relationships like your or I have and so it’s an opportunity to build a relationship and it might be a way for them to get out of their poverty and homelessness, so it’s just a start.”

The traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of more than 15-hundred pounds of turkey, 12-hundred pounds of mashed potatoes and at least 400 pies.  And for those who think they have to miss out due to transportation issues.. well, that’s taken care of too through a partnership with the Rapid transit line.

They’ve been partnering with us for many years now. Typically their service does not run on holidays and so they have bus drivers that volunteer and help out and have a bus line that goes directly to Devos place throughout the afternoon so people can get to the location and have a meal.”

The meal will be served at the Devos Place Convention Center ballroom. Doors open at 10:30 and the event runs through 1 pm.  All are welcome.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.