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Springfield's Homeless Find Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/springfiel_3912.mp3

During the Thanksgiving holiday, many families will travel to visit loved ones.
For many others, however, that’s not an option.
KSMU’s Ryan Farmer spent the morning at a homeless drop-in and has this report on how the local homeless are spending the holiday.
Some gather around the television, as others swap stories about their troubles.
One man is bundled up in his coat and stocking cap, peacefully drawing his sketches in solitude.
Dozens more mingle in a side alley, looking for a place to rest, wash up, or find a meal.
At “Bill’s Place” on Commercial Street, the homeless can drop in for a free cup of coffee, a shower, and a break from the cold.
Michael Williams, a 43 year old homeless man, just finished serving jail time, and is trying to get back on his feet.
He is one of Springfield’s hundreds of unsheltered homeless individuals.Williams-"Usually Thanksgiving means a great deal, the holidays means a great deal. I've got kids, grandbabies. This year I'm kind of down on my luck, so you know its different this year. But normally yeah, its the greatest time of the year."Though most of the homeless who stop by Bill’s place are adults, case manager Jay Barnes says he sees homeless families too. Barnes-"We do have some families that come in here. And one in particular came in yesterday and was concerned that she didn't have anything to serve to her family."Though many families struggle throughout the holidays, there are places for them to forget about their troubles, if only for a while.
Victory Mission, a faith based organization in Springfield, is providing a Thanksgiving banquet for the homeless tonight.
Jesse Reed is the spokesperson for Victory Mission.Reed-"I've got to meet with quite a few people that have lost their jobs, or have got cut back from their jobs. These people are so excited to be able to come and have Thanksgiving with their family and its just like they are having their own Thanksgiving holiday. We just want to give hope to people that may not have alot of hope this Thanksgiving."The banquet will begin tonight at 6, at the “Cook’s Kettle,” a restaurant located on Commercial Street and operated by Victory Mission students and volunteers.
Organizers estimate over 200 men, women and children will have their main Thanksgiving meal at tonight’s event.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Farmer.