Crossroads Shelter serves up its annual holiday dinner to those in need

Storm Team Meteorologist Jim Barach and United States Senator Joe Manchin volunteer as servers for the Union Mission Crossroads Mens Shelter's annual holiday lunch. (Eyewitness News Photo)

The free holiday dinner at Union Mission's Crossroads Men's Shelter always draws a big crowd and this year was no exception. But with Charleston's homeless population on the rise over the past 12 months, the need is greater than ever.

"Due to the rise, the tremendous rise of homeless coming out of town, you know, coming from out of state and coming," David Snead, Director, Crossroads Mens Shelter said. "You can't meet all the need. We basically like to take care of our own but for some reason this is a hot spot for homelessness."

Volunteers help the shelter fulfill its mission to feed the homeless and hungry. A Putnam County church group comes here every month to lend a hand.

"We came the first month and realized that Dave needed help, Michelle Luikart, Elizabeth Baptist Church said. "And that was six, seven years ago. And we just, we bring about 25 people each month. each time we come for Thanksgiving. And, we made 500 biscuits this morning because they didn't have any bread and you can't have Thanksgiving without bread. And we provide the pies. Shiloh Church helps us with that on Red House and Buffalo Baptist helps us with that. We bring about 60-70 pies and do the drinks."

Others make serving the holiday lunch an annual tradition. Storm Team Meteorologist Jim Barach shows up to dish out food and encouragment each year, as does U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

"This was a special time for them, The family always got together but they always worried about other people who didn't get together," Manchin said. "And my grandma always worried about somebody in our little coal mining town of Farmington, if there was someone who had dinner. And she made me walk up and walk the streets and find anybody that was not with a home or not with a family or not with a good meal, then bring them home."

In addititon to serving meals in the shelter's dining room, to-go plates were available to anyone who asked for one.

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