The dining room of the Pine Street Inn was warm as Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Sen. Edward Markey, police Commissioner William Gross and other dignitaries toured the facility and met with guests to celebrate Thanksgiving on a day of record-setting cold.
“Today is a day of gratitude, thank you for being here,” Walsh said to the volunteers. “You’re giving back to make life a little bit better for the guests here.”
For Gross, this meal showed that a community can come together to not only help one another, but to teach everyone about empathy and respect.
“Never forget where you came from, some of the guys here looked out for me as a kid, they saw me in the streets as a young officer,” Gross said. “You should never be anywhere in life where you think you’re better than somewhere else, someone else and think it’s a burden to give back; it’s a blessing.”
And give back they did. The annual feast featured 74 turkeys, 800 pounds of mashed potatoes, 400 pounds of stuffing, 205 pies and more.
For some of the guests, the day means more than just food. It is a chance to spend time together and bring new life.
“These volunteers give me hope, I know it’s not over,” said Bernard Simmons. “There are people who care about my well being, because you can be in this type of living situation … and then to know that there are people not giving up on me gives me a little inspiration to help fight for myself.”
This year, that hope was important for Simmons. His mother recently passed away, so this holiday season by himself has been difficult.
“I’m missing my moms,” Simmons said. “I see her every Thanksgiving so this is my first one without her. But being here amongst people eases that missing loneliness feeling.”
Simmons was surrounded by Pine Street guests who were able to enjoy a day filled with turkey, football and a warm bed thanks to hundreds of volunteers.
“It shows that someone cares and shows recognition that someone cares about the homeless, the less fortunate, that someone cares about someone who isn’t doing so good in life,” said Farney Nuby.
“Today is hard because you miss your family, not being with your family. Even though you have a roof over your head and a warm meal it still isn’t home,” Nuby said. “But it is a warm environment and a safe environment and any place I would be if I wasn’t with family would be here.”