FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Justin Boles, Citygate Network
Office: (719) 266-8300 x 104
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Nov. 8, 2022 ) — As millions of families across the nation prepare to gather in homes for Thanksgiving dinner, hundreds of thousands of individuals and families without homes will pour into rescue missions and similar ministries, according to Citygate Network (www.citygatenetwork.org).
“Often, through a meal, people in need are introduced to the programs that can help them move forward in life,” says John Ashmen, president of Citygate Network. “And because our members generally feed more people at Thanksgiving than at any other time, more people find hope for a new life during the holidays.”
The meals rescue missions provide through events and food boxes at Thanksgiving represent a seasonal surge of activity, pushing the total meals served each year by Citygate Network members to more than 70 million meals.
“On behalf of every one of our member ministries, I am extremely thankful for all of the volunteered hours and donated dollars,” said Ashmen. “These gifts are making the holidays — starting with Thanksgiving — meaningful to so many. But we all must remember that hunger and homelessness are not reserved for November and December. The problem is year-round.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 34 million people in the U.S. lived in food-insecure households in 2021. Rescue missions stand in the gap, not only on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, to help people find, not only nourishment, but a supportive community and a better future.
A Citygate Network member ministry can be found in nearly every major city in North America, welcoming people experiencing homelessness and hunger, helping those struggling with addictions, and facilitating healing for people recovering from abuse. Among the many programs that help people get a fresh start, on Thanksgiving, Citygate Network members’ food programs take center stage.
In Cincinnati, City Gospel Mission will offer several Thanksgiving activities. Aside from serving its annual Thanksgiving feast, the ministry will also operate a Thanksgiving exchange for low-income families who want to celebrate the holiday with their families. This initiative features a grocery store where some 500 shoppers will pay just $10 each to purchase fresh produce, a ham or turkey, and all they’ll need in order to serve their family a great Thanksgiving spread.In Duluth, the pandemic squelched the popular community Thanksgiving meal, and it still hasn’t returned. However, Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission has its own version. Executive Director Veronica Ciurleo said the mission is pulling out all the stops for its Community Thanksgiving Dinner this year. “We’ll have the meal catered so we can spend more time with our guests, she explains. “There will be will be a Gospel message, games with prizes, and a lot of other fun activities to complement the meal.”
A couple hours south of Duluth, St. Paul’s Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities plans to give out 4,000 turkeys, with all of the fixings, a few days before the holiday to community members in need. As food prices continue to soar, the mission’s holiday food effort is expected to feed more than 20,000 people this Thanksgiving.
These outreaches require a large volunteer force. Hope Ministries in Des Moines utilizes more than 100 volunteers to serve and deliver some 3,500 Thanksgiving meals. As with most of these efforts across the country, the community steps up in a big way to donate not only the needed food, but also the hours needed to pull off such a large event. This presents a tremendous opportunity for community members to rally their family members and express thankfulness in a meaningful way.
“A great number of people are discovering the deep satisfaction that comes through face-to-face encounters with our neighbors in need,” Ashmen says, “and more so, the joy of giving to folks who may never be able to pay you back.”
Virtually every Citygate Network member offers volunteer and donation opportunities at Thanksgiving and all year long. The public can find local ministries to support at www.citygatenetwork.org/locate.
About Citygate Network: Citygate Network is North America’s oldest and largest network of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and life-transformation centers, offering radical hospitality in Jesus’ name. Through addiction recovery, education, counseling, job training, housing services, and more, thousands of people in need receive help and hope. Every year, Citygate Network member ministries serve approximately 70 million meals, provide more than 20 million nights’ lodging, help tens of thousands find employment, bandage the wounds of thousands of abuse victims, and graduate more than 20,000 people from addiction-recovery programs into productive living. To learn more, visit www.citygatenetwork.org.
To schedule an interview with John Ashmen, contact Justin Boles using the information above.