CREATED Nov 21, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Three thousand pounds of turkey, 3,750 dinner rolls, 300 pies and around 400 volunteers serving it up with a smile to a crowd of 2,870 people. Gospel Rescue Mission dished up its annual pre-Thanksgiving street banquet Wednesday for those going through hard times and good ones.
“We have a wonderful spirit here,” pastor and executive director Roy Tullgren told 9 On Your Side. “The people that come here get to sit down at the table. They're served a meal.”
That's what it comes down to: a meal -- a hardy, traditional thanksgiving feast.
At the table are the old-timers like Ole Olson, who's come to the feast the day before every Thanksgiving for around a decade now.
“I have a tendency to be a little bit too (reclusive),” he said. “I just like the camaraderie.”
Olson is at the south side feast once again for the friendship, food and fun. But there are also fresh faces.
“Every day, a new face no matter what day it is,” said Daniel Lopez, a participant in Gospel Rescue Mission’s programs. “There's always that some person in times of struggle and times of need.”
Struggle and need. Those are things R.J. Frye is experiencing. The Tucson transplant said he's working to straighten out his life and get a job.
“One thing that's helped me out is that I've met a lot of great people around here that've actually helped me out,” Frye said, adding Wednesday’s meal also helps.
“Every year, we're seeing more and more people that need help around the holidays -- Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Tullgren said. “There's more economically homeless these days, working people, poor neighbors that are just having a hard time putting food on the table.”
“It is a positive thing for them,” volunteer Manny Nagore said. “They know they're going to get a warm meal. Now, I don't know what's going to happen to them tomorrow. But at least for today, it's a great day.”
Gospel Rescue Mission thanks the many people, organizations and businesses who donated to the banquet, satisfying so many stomachs.
9 On Your Side’s Guy Atchley was at the pre-Thanksgiving feast, snapping pictures. See the photos he took.
The Salvation Army holds its Thanksgiving lunch Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1145 East Fort Lowell.