FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Turkey meals were served one by one at the Poverello House on Thanksgiving.
Many were grateful to have a warm meal inside and with warm company. "If we didn't have the volunteers coming into help us, we couldn't make this day happen,"said Poverello House Executive Director Cruz Avila.
Avila said about 100 volunteers helped from start to finish.
The work began early, with some coming in at 4:30 a.m. to help prepare the meals. For Annette Vanderburg, it was a time to serve and bond with her daughter.
"She's clear across the country and I don't get to see her so we Skype and Facetime all the time, so it's really special to have her home," Vanderburg said.
Nicole Anderson is in the Air Force, but currently at home. She's set to deploy next year, but she said serving now can make a difference. "I had never seen this side of Fresno so it makes me feel very thankful," Anderson said.
"This is the frosting on the cake for me," Vanderburg said. "This is where I get the most joy giving back."
The Poverello House said they're seeing an increasing number of families in need.
They recently held a turkey drive to feed these residents. "So, overall turkeys we are at 1200, the goal is 2,000 this year," Avila said. "Unfortunately, we did not meet that goal by today. But, at the end of the day, we're still trying to get those donations in because those turkeys go all around the year."
The Poverello House hopes others will step in and donate turkeys through the holidays.
As for the volunteers like the Genito family of Fresno, giving their time was a memorable experience. "Come down and give back because it fills your heart," said volunteer Lyn Genito. "Especially on thanksgiving when the community and valley needs help."
While many of the volunteers said they came out to serve Fresno's homeless, some said they left feeling even more blessed this Thanksgiving holiday.
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