MOUNT VERNON — As the nation gives thanks on this special day and sits down to feast on holiday fare, hundreds of Mount Vernon residents give thanks for the Hot Meals program which provides sustenance for those in need seven days a week.
Hot Meals had its start more than a decade ago when area church leaders saw a need and took action. Eight churches take a direct role in the program, with a small army of volunteers and donors from throughout the area assisting in the quest to help the hungry in the community.
People from all walks of life depend upon the hot meals program. There are unemployed and underemployed individuals, senior citizens and those on fixed incomes. Some are unmarried, some are single parents with children and some are two-parent families.
Several of the dinner guests at First Congregational United Church of Christ talked with the News on Tuesday. All were thankful for the meal and those volunteers and donors who made it possible.
Erin goes to three of the Hot Meals each week. “I am one of those people in this town who is on a fixed income,” she said. “A lot of times, mid-month, we’re stretching to even get anywhere as far as food goes. I think it’s a good program and I think that as long as these meals exist, those of us who do need them, are never going to go hungry. These meals are a godsend.”
“I think it’s a good thing they do here in Mount Vernon,” said Eric. “They have them every night. For me personally, the socialization is the most important thing.”
Angel was enjoying the meal with her 8-month-old daughter, Lily. “I appreciate these people who are providing food for people who don’t have food at home, or maybe don’t have the variety we get here,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t have money to buy food for me.”
If Justine did not have Hot Meals, her choice of food would be very limited and she most likely would not have a hot meal at home. “I’d probably just eat something out of the cupboard,” she said.
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