Thanksgiving Dinner at the Soup Kitchen
Debbie, Catherine, Debbie, Pat, and Dick

A grandmother whose face mask was printed with the word “love,” a young dad who recently immigrated to the United States, and a man who was so tired he said he could hardly remember how to smile, all found themselves celebrating an early Thanksgiving dinner on November 18th, along with 268 other hungry residents of Erie who came to Emmaus Soup Kitchen.

Emmaus coordinates with local other soup kitchens and food providers in the city, with each organization offering their Thanksgiving dinner on a different day. This ensures that everyone who may be experiencing hunger and poverty, everyone who has nowhere else to go on the holiday, at least has the opportunity to celebrate with a warm, hearty meal, made by someone who cares for them. Emmaus Soup Kitchen’s turn to serve turkey and all the fixings came first, and was prepared and given out by dedicated volunteers. Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry coordinator, Catherine Simon planned, organized, and helped to serve the meal.

The meal, a traditional turkey dinner with corn, cranberry sauce, potatoes, a dinner roll, and pumpkin pie, was made by Patty Shea and her team, made up of several retired teachers from Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School. It was distributed by Debbie and Dick Robertson and Debbie and Pat Shoup, who, like Patty Shea and her team, have been longtime volunteers at Emmaus. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the meal was served to-go style, but with no less warmth. “There are always so many emotions on a day like this at Emmaus, when we serve a special meal. Seeing the appreciation on the faces of our guests, the dedication of our volunteers, and yet knowing that there is so much hunger and need in the city—it gives me pause to reflect on how much we can offer, but how much work there still is to be done.” said Sister Valerie Luckey, OSB, ministry assistant, who helped serve the meal.

The guests were excited to enjoy the dinner and grateful to those who made the meal—and all that it represented, including the hope of even more celebrations—possible. The young immigrant father said, “This is my first Thanksgiving dinner ever. But maybe next year I will cook my own turkey for my children.”

Photo (L-R): Debbie Robertson, Catherine Simon, Debbie Shoup, Pat Shoup, and Dick Robertson take a serving break for a group photo.

Volunteers prepare the meal on Wednesday.
Volunteers prepare the meal on Wednesday.
All the fixings
All the fixings
Guests enjoy their meal.
Guests enjoy their meal.
Guests enjoy their meal.
Guests enjoy their meal.
Guests enjoy their meal.
Guests enjoy their meal.
Volunteer, Dick Robertson, shows the meal.
Volunteer, Dick Robertson, shows the meal.