Poverello House serves up warm meals for Thanksgiving to those in need

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Michael Paccassi showed up bright and early Thanksgiving for a cup of coffee and warm meal. He's homeless- but woke up still feeling grateful.

"They treat you like family members here, if you're hungry- they'll feed you."

70 volunteers spent Thanksgiving morning stirring and whipping up two meals. 40 to 50 turkeys were carved and de-boned. In the dining room, tablecloths, festive balloons and centerpieces were perfectly put in place.

"Every kid can take them home with a balloon on it and they have all kinds of candies in there, assorted candies so that way they can have fun and eat the candy," said volunteer Adriana Olvera.

Before the meal was served- those who waited outside also got another gift- to help them brave the fall weather.

"We have about 300 nice warm blankets to give out to the people that are cold," said Pastor Douglas Knox Jr. of First Galilee Missionary Church.

Paccassi once owned an auto body and repair shop. He's been on the streets for about a year. Even though he's unemployed and has health issues- he was celebrating the holiday with a great attitude. He appreciated the friendly, warm atmosphere and the big hearts of those who paid for and made the dinner.

"It feels like the real McCoy home, you know and that's just not a feeling from the weather, that's from inside which is- you feel it," Paccassi said.

"We are providing that beacon of hope for them to be able to be enriched and it's really what Papa Mike had set up once he started this organization back in 1973 is really enriching the lives and spirits of all who pass their way," said Cruz Avila, Poverello House CEO.

The number of meals served here on Thanksgiving has been declining in recent years, but Poverello House officials say the reason is because so many other community groups come out to serve meals on Thanksgiving
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