Organizers, who overcame homelessness and drug addiction, host free Thanksgiving dinner

Local News

Rochester, N.Y. (WROC)- Many people around Rochester are giving back and volunteering for the holidays. For the last 8 years, those looking for a hot meal have been able to come to the Voter’s Block Community Center.

Miracle Valley Deliverance City Church and Voters Block Community hosted the event. Organizers say they’re serving up hot food and building a sense of community.

Juliet and Kenneth Lavan started this dinner 8 years ago after seeing the need for a community meal. For Associate Pastor Juliet Blake Lavan, an associate pastor at Miracle Valley Deliverance City Church, it came when she moved back to Rochester.

“Come back second marriage didn’t have a job, took a risk and moved in. and all of our family is down south, children and everything and we wanted to have dinner with some people,” said Juliet Blake Lavan.

Both have dealt with homelessness. Kenneth says that and his battle with a drug addiction really pushed him to give back to those struggling.

“I was addicted to drugs and I had lost everything and I was homeless and at one point living at the shelter also, and so I know a lot of guys still at the shelter, who know me and come down for the Thanksgiving meal,” said Kenneth Lavan.

Both are members of the Miracle Valley Deliverance City Church who, with Voters Block Community, hosted the dinner. Free and open to the public, anyone looking for a hot meal could grab a plate.

“The food was really good. I had two helpings of food and so many people were in there I got up, I ate my food fast and I got up so somebody else can get a chance to sit down.” Carolyn Sims, who attended the dinner.

Volunteers worked in one-hour shifts to keep the lines moving. Some even passing free winter clothes to those in attendance.

“Nothing too small or nothing too big to give to somebody to put a smile on their faces. To make them feel like their special and they the most precious people on the face on the earth and these are our people.” Juliet blake Lavan.

Last year volunteers say they served over 500 people. To keep up with the growing demand they open a second location for the first time this year and are expecting to serve even more.

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