November 26, 2014

Union Mission provides Thanksgiving dinner for those in need | WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Volunteers gathered in Downtown Charleston to provide those in need an extra Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday.

The Union Mission Crossroad Homeless Shelter was the site for the organization annual, starting about 24 years ago, event where hundreds were expect to come through.

“We anticipate up to 500 people that will be served through out time together,” Rex Whiteman, President and CEO of Union Mission said. “It’s a tradition for us to help do it a day before Thanksgiving because simply because we want to spread out the events because churches and Frankie Veltri’s foundation does it [Thursday]. It kinda makes it a little more special for more than one day.”

Among those offering their time to help serve the meals was U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. He and others said it was a way to share your blessings this Holiday season.

“No matter what your lot in life may be, no matter how difficult your challenges you might have in life, you’re always able to give something back,” Manchin said. “To be able to contribute just a kind word or a little bit of your time or volunteer this or that, everybody can do that.”

Manchin also lauded the efforts of the mission, not just during the Holiday season, but throughout the entire year.

“To have the Union Mission that basically does it 365 days, it’s a labor of love,” he said. “It’s not just one day where they come out and show good will, they do it every day, every single day. For us to come down, and me to come down and say thank you. This is my way of saying thank you for what you do every single day.”

Whiteman said he was pleased with the number of volunteers that came out Wednesday because it both makes the event stay organized and raises awareness of other opportunities available to volunteer through the year.

All anyone has to do, he said, is call the mission at 304-925-0366.

“We have volunteer coordinators ready to take their call and ready to help them plug in to an activity of involvement,” Whiteman said. “The mission has many programs, many places that we serve. We’re working in a lot of areas.”

Another event coming for the mission on Thanksgiving Day is the 4th Annual Drumstick Dash 5K run/walk. Participants for the 9 a.m. race will “shuffle their feet so others can eat” as all proceeds will go toward feeding the homeless and canned food donations are encouraged.

More information on the event can be found at

By:  Aaron Payne