Jesus Was Homeless is hosting its 12th annual Love Your Neighbors Thanksgiving Day Dinner on Nov. 28 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Parish at 203 Vaughn Road in Branson.
They invite anyone who can’t afford to eat or has no one to spend the holiday with, to come and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
“We provide transportation, so if someone’s within about a five mile radius of Branson, we’re able to pick them up and bring them to the dinner, then take them home when they’re finished. There’s no charge for the dinner or the transportation, they just have to call our ride number the day of the dinner at 417-335-9915,” said Bryan Stallings, Jesus Was Homeless founder and executive director.
“It’s the full Thanksgiving experience with all the fixings,” said Stallings in the press release.
“There’s a lot that goes into the preparation and we couldn’t do it without the help of our sponsors and volunteers.”
Guests will be served turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, dinner rolls, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce and pies with whipped cream toppings for dessert.
“We use it as a fundraiser as well because it’s really our only event that we do, and it helps us get through the year,” said Stallings. “It’s our 12th annual, it’s kind of how our whole ministry started was with the Thanksgiving dinner, and we try to make it as fun and encouraging for people to attend and be a part of.”
“So I guess my hope is that people will step out and (have) a little bit out courage and not stay in their motel or their apartment, trailer and come and attend the dinner.
For those who wish to volunteer or become a sponsor for the event, registration is available at JesusWasHomeless.org.
“It takes a lot of volunteers, we’ll serve probably between 700 and 800 people and have 200-300 volunteers. We always take volunteers probably up until the last minute,” said Stallings. “We want them to register so we know what area we can put them in, we have a cap of certain areas.
“They do that by going to our website at JesusWasHomeless.org and clicking on the turkey and it takes them to a volunteer page where they can sign-up to volunteer.
“All of our volunteer areas are free with the exception of the server area because you have to have a tuxedo shirt, so we charge $10 for the shirt, that’s basically our cost.”
This year’s food sponsors include Famous Dave’s, Herschend Entertainment, Steak n Shake, Foggy River Realty, Aspen Dental - Dr. Rick Alvarez, Luke & Tuesday Logan, Sherri Paydon, Mitch & Jennifer Holmes, Daniel & Barbara Vilmure, Hotel Grand Victorian, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and the Whipped Cream Sponsorship was given in memory of Alan Gaines.
“It’s a great way for people who can’t be part of the dinner to still participate, they can actually sponsor a plate for somebody and we put a sign on the table that says this plate is sponsored with love by their name and they can do that for $25.
“Or if it’s a business they can actually buy a whole table, (and) that table will turn over about three-four times throughout the night.
“We are grateful for all the help and support we have received from our community, and we are excited to continue this tradition,” said Stallings.
For more information about Jesus Was Homeless or the Love Your Neighbors Thanksgiving Day Dinner, please visit their website or call their office at 417-335-9915.