VICTORVILLE – (VVNG.com): On Wednesday, November 26th, from 2:00 p.m. until about 4:30 p.m., approximately 40 volunteers from various groups including, but not limited to Victor Valley Brown Sack Lunches and Friends of Tent City (also known for their Hope Haven project), gathered just north of the riverbed where many of the homeless in our community reside. The mission of these groups was to provide not only a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, but also love, compassion, prayer, entertainment, ministry and fellowship.
The congregation of approximately 75 homeless individuals and the 40 volunteers sat down to talk about what they are thankful for. Many of the homeless men and women were among the first to talk about what they were grateful for, most just things like another day or for the groups that go over there continuing to serve them with food, water, clothing, shoes, socks, jackets, blankets, tarps, tents, dog food and other needs to help them get by. With the bitter cold high desert months now quickly approaching. Most of these groups stepped up their forces collecting donations of all that is needed to keep these individuals warm, dry and fed.
The afternoon meeting continued with everyone lining up to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, different portions of it cooked by different members of the groups. The meal was served in the same orderly fashion other gatherings have been handled with many regular volunteers, that have been serving with these groups for a year or more. Several long tables and chairs were brought in by volunteers lending them to the event, some covered in decorative Thanksgiving table cloths.
During the meal local pastors, musicians, and other public speakers spoke of their life experiences, some came from much of the same place as some of the men and women living in the riverbed area and now have overcome the obstacles. Much of the large crowd was in awe, touched by the stories of trials followed with triumph. Some of the residents of the “tent city” hugged the speakers or otherwise thanked them for their impactful music and words. Groups in prayer, groups of people blended by those with and without homes joined together, with no walls between them either materially or subconsciously.
Both the people from “tent city” and those volunteering there for the day left with smiles on their faces. Although what they have materially is obviously very different, it is safe to say that most left thankful for what they do have both materially and otherwise. Much like the Indians not only fed the Pilgrims but gave them the knowledge necessary to continue to survive, these groups offer not only help with immediate needs, but work with other organizations that can help those who have the desire to get out of the cold, get training or other assistance needed in order to do so.