CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Not everyone has the chance to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by friends and family, but that is where the St. Augustine Hunger Center steps in to help.
The center hosted its 46th Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and less fortunate.
“People are lonely on Thanksgiving," Sister Corita Ambero said, "so our goal is to make them feel a little better and I try as hard as I can.”
Volunteers and members organized at locations across Northeast Ohio to feed around 20,000 people. Servers such as Nitza Velazquez, who have been volunteering for years, is still motivated to help others.
“If there’s anybody that I can help, whether it’s here at the shelter or somewhere else, I do whatever i have to do to help people,” she said.
But many of the visitors don’t just attend to receive a thoughtful meal. Many of them, like Patricia Azare, also give back. Her husband died from lung cancer and she has been homeless multiple times over the past 11 years. She now helps the center by cleaning the floors after many dinner meals, and is thankful for being surrounded by people who love her.
“If I can do something for someone, at least one person a day, then I can go to bed—wherever it is—and be content,” she said, “because I knew I tried my best.”
After working during so many Thanksgiving meals and drives over the years, Sister Corita has met countless of Cleveland residents, and is happy to make them a part of their “family”.
“They call me mother all the time. I don’t feel like it but I just enjoy them so much and love them so much," she explained. “They give me hope, and they bring me love and joy.”
The St. Augustine Hunger Center also served hot breakfast today from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Merrick House.