Hundreds of families fed Thanksgiving dinner in Elkhart

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Organizations across Michiana are partnering up to serve Thanksgiving dinner to people in need.

From Noon to 1 p.m., Faith Mission of Michiana and The Salvation Army of Elkhart served up classic Thanksgiving foods at Faith Mission’s Benham Avenue location in Elkhart.

Over 100 volunteers were on hand to prepare and serve meals to shelter residents, walk-ins, and home deliveries.

Faith Mission recognizes the importance of giving around the holidays but says this is just another day to do the right thing.

“We need to serve those that need our help; we need to be able to help those that need our help, but yet, there’s also the act of one serving is an important part of one’s life,” said Ross Swihart, executive director at Faith Mission of Michiana. “It brings fulfillment. It brings hope, it brings it to the person that you’re serving but then also from oneself, because every time you serve someone, it does something for you as well on the inside.”

Swihart added that serving is like a snowball effect, where they say “an act of kindness always inspires another,” he thinks of acts of service as producing a similar result.

“I’m thankful for what I have in that I am capable of coming in and being able to be in a role where I can help, not only for me to serve others, but then lead staff to serve others, and then have opportunities for volunteers to come in and serve,” said Swihart. “I think a really important component of each of our lives is serving others.”

Faith Mission currently assists around 75 people through a long-term residential and life skill program and anywhere from 40-70 people staying in their emergency overnight shelter.

“A lady came up to me at the meal today that’s staying here, and she goes, thank you, Ross, for what you guys do for us, and I want you to understand is that’s every day, what the mission does for us here, so thank you for that,” said Swihart. “She’s never come up to me over the weeks that she’s been here and said that, and so, today kind of lifts not only us that are serving in thanks, but those that are being served are thankful too.”

Faith Mission started in 1956 and is open 365 days a year to help feed and shelter Elkhart County’s homeless and underprivileged families.

They also provide free daily meals at 7 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 5 p.m.

Thanksgiving Facts according to History.com:

The first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 between the first English settlers and the Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Indigenous people brought turkey and deer, and the celebration lasted three days.

Thanksgiving was first nationally recognized in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, at a time when the United States needed unity more than ever, encouraging Americans to celebrate the last Thursday in November as “a day of Thanksgiving.”

Congress passed legislation in 1870, making Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day all national holidays.

Macy’s first started holding its Thanksgiving Parade with balloons depicting famous children’s characters in 1927.