This is Thanksgiving week, a time for families and friends to gather and enjoy a meal and count their many blessings.

But, for those in our community who are homeless, Thanksgiving can be an especially dark time. The Poverello Center does all they can to make the day bright and cheerful with an all-day Thanksgiving feast for the homeless in Missoula.

Executive Director Amy Allison-Thompson said the center plans a special day each year for Thanksgiving.

“We’ll be serving our Thanksgiving feast all day and we have tons of local volunteers that will be in,” Allison-Thompson said. “It is an especially hard time, so we’re just really happy to provide an all-day Thanksgiving dinner. I just talked with our kitchen manager this morning about what we still need for the day, and he said what we most need right now are cans of cream of mushroom soup and those French-fried onions for the green bean casserole. We could also use white onions and spices. We don’t get many people donating spices, so we need rosemary and thyme, and we can always use salt and pepper and butter, just the basics for a Thanksgiving meal.”

Allison-Thompson said they expect to serve over 400 people on Thanksgiving Day.

“We already have cooked about 20 turkeys, and we expect 20 more this week, so we’ll usually have 40 turkeys,” she said. “We’ll also have mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, rills and butter. The majority of our food actually comes in on our food rescue truck. We drive around Monday through Friday and rescue food from grocery stores that are about to be expired and we’re able to rescue those and use them to serve 400 to 500 meals per day. In fact, last year alone we rescued over 50,000 pounds of food.”

The Poverello Center has been at their new location on West Broadway for almost three years.