Here at the Modesto Gospel Mission, we LOVE Fall! This is the season in which we are called upon to help our neighbors by providing Thanksgiving meals and jackets and other warm clothing items to those who need them most. We get the opportunity to serve alongside our community by providing food and clothing to over 850-1,000 in a single day!
For most of us, Fall is a time that represents nostalgia as harvest is completed, the weather (finally) turns cooler, and we have several months of major holidays, one after the other. The decorations come out of storage where they will be proudly displayed for the next two months, and maybe even into the new year. Fall scents like maple, cinnamon, apple, pecan and pumpkin linger throughout stores and shops from baked goods to scented candles. We debate the merits of “pumpkin spice,” mashed potatoes v. yams, and our favorite Thanksgiving pies. Football, family, food, and friends (not necessarily in that order). What’s not to love?
But Fall is not always so heartwarming and nostalgic for the “least of these” in our community. Warm lodging and hot meals are not guaranteed for those that struggle daily to put food on the table. For many of our working poor, the thought of spending an extra $10 on decorations or a scented candle is not an option when they need gas to get to work. For our forgotten homeless, their plight has eliminated any traditions for this season they may have had once upon a time. This is where we all can be a blessing to those who are less fortunate and bring glory to the name of Jesus.
This year the Mission will not be canceling its Thanksgiving event, even with COVID-19 still lingering. As a matter of fact, we plan to expand it! We want to ensure that the Mission’s Thanksgiving traditions can be celebrated no matter the situation in the world. We agree with the psalmist who said “Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1) This is why Thanksgiving is such a special holiday – because it attributes gratitude to God for all He provides, and we want to pass it on.
This year the Mission will still be providing Thanksgiving meals and warm coats and clothing as usual. For best health practices, however, we will be offering individuals and families Thanksgiving meals “to-go.” We plan to serve more men, women, and children than ever before! We cannot do this without you! This type of expansion requires help both physically and financially. Your support will impact the lives of people like Evelyn T.
“Growing up, I didn’t get the opportunity to celebrate fall traditions. I was raised by a single mother who worked hard just to provide enough for us to survive. This trend of hollow holiday seasons continued in my life as I struggled with addiction and became entangled in a toxic and abusive relationship. A mixture of my addiction and that relationship stole all joy from me, and my children were the only thing that kept me pushing forward. When I finally escaped from that relationship, my children and I were forced to live apart. Never having a place of our own to decorate or bake fall treats made it impossible to develop family traditions.
Being at the Mission with my children has ignited a new hope in me. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do is watch my kids grow up without the ability to celebrate this season, but I have the chance to start that now. I have a chance to create new traditions with them that they can pass on to their children, and a new chance at life!”
We need many helping hands to make our Thanksgiving event happen smoothly. You can visit our website at www.modestogospelmission.org to sign up to volunteer for this event. We also need financial support too, and donations of gently-used or new coats, warm clothing, and canned food. With your support, we can make Fall a season to look forward to for everyone in our community.
MESSAGE FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: With Thanksgiving around the corner let us not forget to take a moment to be thankful for what we have. With such a year as 2020, one thing is certain – we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord. As this year ends, many will seek out the Modesto Gospel Mission for refuge and recovery during this holiday season. The doors of the Mission remain open for all to come through and seek sanctuary, rest and refuge. I personally want to thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus during this disruptive season and giving to those that are most vulnerable and the poor in this community. Each of our guests have the chance of a new path because of you who care and give generously.
Jason Conway, Executive Director
New Life Program Graduate 2008