“That was the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.” “If we hadn’t come here, our family would not have had a Thanksgiving.” Those were just two of the comments heard last November as Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) hosted community folks for Thanksgiving dinner.
In preparation for the event, PACS sent invitations to all surrounding Adventist churches and posted a notice on the reader board by the street. They soon had reservations for nearly 150.
The thrift shop racks were shoved to the walls and tables and chairs were set up. People from all over the Portland metro area brought food. Some stopped just long enough to unload while others stayed to help. A volunteer crew decorated, prepared food, dished up plates, cleaned, and put the place back in order.
A volunteer came at the last minute who spoke Spanish. When two Hispanic groups came to the dinner, he welcomed them, found seating for them, and made them comfortable.
One lady from the community saw the reader board and came in to ask if she could help. She was assigned the job of hostess. She loved every minute of it. “I’ve always dreamed of doing something like this,” she said, “Now I will go to my daughter-in-law’s where she is fixing dinner, but I will never forget how the Lord has blessed me today.”
“This Thanksgiving experience will definitely be one of the highlights of my life, as far as Thanksgivings go,” said Rhonda Whitney, executive director of Portland Adventist Community Services. “The wonderful spirit, camaraderie, and special time to share with others was incredible. This was one of the most relationship-building activities we have ever done as a community service agency.”
Attendees and helpers felt the same and want to do it again next year.