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Volunteers Spend Thanksgiving with Strangers

Updated: Friday, November 29 2013, 07:43 AM EST
OVER-THE-RHINE, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- While most people were spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, dozens of volunteers went to Over-The-Rhine to spend the holiday with strangers.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Race Street opened its doors for a family-style Thanksgiving evening.  Local 12 News reporter Angela Ingram explains how strangers bonded over food and fellowship.

Pastor John Suguitan of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church starts the evening off with prayer.  Many of the people are homeless, but here everyone who comes through the doors is treated as family.

Julie Mills of The Bridge Ministry said, I had several associates come in my office telling me what a hard time of the year this is for them. They may not have families. They may have families that they're not welcome to go to.  For whatever reason, they had no place to go.

Volunteers have given up Thanksgiving at home with their own families. Instead they've come from suburbs serving others food and offering friendship.

Scott Gilliam of Mustard Seed Servants said, And we've got about 35 volunteers that came from West Chester.

Organizers set up games for kids, television to watch football and later, strangers bonded by decorating Christmas trees together.

Some say celebrating Thanksgiving with strangers was more rewarding than they could've imagined.

Gilliam continues, Some of my family members weren't too thrilled about the idea of upsetting our usual family Thanksgiving, but they're all down here and my analogy is I feel like that scene in, The Grinch that Stole Christmas where the Grinchs heart gets so big that the frame explodes and that's how I feel about being down here.

Julie Mills agreed, I can never leave here without feeling like God has given me more than I can ever, ever be thankful for and what better day to spend it with those that give me so much than on Thanksgiving.

Volunteers say they don't plan for this to be their only trip to Over-The-Rhine.  They're planning several more.

They want the people in this community to know that they're cared for not just on Thanksgiving, but all year round.

Prince of Peace has a worship service followed by a free community meal every Wednesday evening. The Over-The-Rhine Church has been standing for more than 100 years.

Watch video HEREVolunteers Spend Thanksgiving with Strangers

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