Halifax Urban Ministries made it possible for 50 local families to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Thanksgiving is a time of year when families gather over a warm, home-cooked meal and give thanks for all the blessings and good fortune they've had the past year. However for some families, their good fortune is so little that a meal is sometimes hard to come by.
"I'm recently divorced," said one Ormond Beach resident who wished to remain anonymous. "I went from being a stay-at-home mom to a single mom with two young kids. I don't get assistance or help from my ex and even though I work full-time, 60% of that paycheck goes to pay daycare. There's nothing left at the end of the day."
Thankfully, that doesn't mean her family can't have a Thanksgiving meal. Halifax Urban Ministries donated 50 turkeys and fixings to local families Nov. 23 from their Ormond Beach office at 54 S. Ridgewood Ave. Office Supervison Vee'tina Malone said families with a lack of funds are common in the local area.
"There is an income limitation for families who don’t have the means to buy a Thanskigiving dinner," Malone said. "After bills and rent, there is not much left over. It's helpful that we are able to give food to them. Celebrating this holiday is important because no matter what, yoou still have to be grateful and thankful for each day you wake up and walk out the door. "
Leah Vanvorst, who has been volunteering with HUM on and off for a year, said Malone's presence is one of the reasons that the organization is so great and is able to help so many people.
"She always has a warm welcome for everyone who comes in, " Vanvorst said. "She's your best friend and she goes over and beyond what is necessary to accommodate those who are homeless and in homeless prevention."
Since 198, HUM has been helping the poor and homeless with temporary housing, food, case management, support programs and emergency assistance. A faith-based nonprofit, almost all of HUM's funding is through financial donations by the local community and 95% of each dollar directly provides services. According to Malone, it's important that through their charity work they maintain their mission that "People matter to God."
"You still have to be grateful and thankful for each day you wake up and walk out the door." – Vee'tina Malone, Halifax Urban Ministries office supervisor
"People matter to God and we do our best to make sure they know that," Malone said. "This right here, it's one of the best things for families out there in the community."
All the recipients and volunteers of HUM agree, that celebrating the holidays are important even when times are tough.
It's all about family," Vanvorst said with tears in her eyes. "Spend time with them while you can."
"My kids don't know that there is nothing left at the end of the week," one Ormond Beach resident said as she grabbed her turkey. "They don't know that I'm worried about how I'm going to provide for them. They think everything is fine and it's important to keep that up for them."