Each year, countless organizations host Thanksgiving meals for those dealing with homelessness. But Tuesday night, one Atlanta group will offer a meal prepared by those intimately acquainted with the struggle.
Covenant Community and All Saints’ Episcopal Church will team up for the 24th year to host homeless individuals for dinner, with a meal prepared by the formerly homeless.
Men with Covenant Community began cooking at 8 a.m. Monday. For those in the kitchen, it’s an opportunity to give back to the community.
"We’ve got a group of 14 people who are putting together dinners for more than 300 homeless people in the area,” Scott Burdette, part of Covenant Community, said. “They’re all different, but what they are going through is a heck of a lot different than most people think. It's almost primal. If you’re out on the streets, you’re almost more concerned about staying warm and eating.”
Homelessness is a life many of those residing with Covenant Community have already lived.
“Some of us for lengthy periods of time,” Burdette said, “and under really dire circumstances.”
“These guys are residents at Covenant Community,” Johnathan Davis, Covenant Community director, said. “They come to us broken, nowhere to live. We provide treatment services.”
The recovery program assists its men with stable housing, employment and more with the ultimate goal of allowing men to return to their families and the community as productive citizens.
“It’s a stabilization program for me that are recovering from substance abuse. We live here. We take classes. We study,” Burdette said. “They house us and take care of us. It’s a comradery. We’re all good friends.”
In turn, Burdette said preparing turkey, ham with all the traditional Thanksgiving sides is an opportunity to show gratitude, plus reach out to those currently stuck on the streets.
“We can help them as well,” Burdette said, adding the holiday dinner is a chance to show attendees a different option for the New Year. “Maybe even tomorrow,” Burdette said.
“They feel a sense of value,” Davis said. “They feel a sense of community giving back. It’s amazing to see the faces of the homeless individuals here. To see other individuals creating a better life. Hope is restored, and they know that maybe one day they can get back on track.”
The annual dinner will be held Tuesday. Nov. 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Visit www.covenantatlanta.org for more information.