West Michigan community gathers for huge Thanksgiving meal

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Volunteers from Gerald R. Ford Job Corps work to unwrap and cut pies at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Isabel Dashner, 9, serves food to a family at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Amber Crow poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Crow is grateful for funding so they don’t have to sleep outside anymore.

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Lis Van Harten poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I am grateful for our family, our children and our grandchildren,” said Van Harten.

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Taylor Foster, who spent 7 years with her grandmother, poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m grateful for life I’ve been given a functioning body and brain,” Foster said.

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Steve Larson poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I am grateful to the Lord for everything,” Larson said.

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Keyon Spivey poses for a photo as he volunteers at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m grateful to be here, to have my family,” Spivey mentioned.

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Elizabeth Hudson-Lee poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m grateful to be here to be a part of this for the people who don’t have as much as me,” said Hudson-Lee.

Volunteers work to cut pies at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brian Hayes | MLive.com

The expansive DeVos Place Ballroom was packed with people gathered for Mel Trotter Ministries’ Thanksgiving Community Meal on Thursday, November 27, 2019.

The event, sponsored by Meijer and several other sponsors, is for anyone without access to a Thanksgiving meal or other company.

The banquet brought together over 700 volunteers and served over 1,000 people.

The guests were treated to turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and all the traditional toppings without the mad uncle yelling at the Lions game.

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Eric Burch and his girlfriend Kat Waite wait for the doors to open for the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Volunteers serve food at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Donald Ram, chief instructor at Gerald R. Ford Job Corps, poses at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. a place where they can volunteer and celebrate with a big family because a lot of my kids don’t have families, ”said Brown.

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Adolpho Contrearas, 12, poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I am grateful for my family,” Contrearas said.

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People gather and eat in the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal Dining Room at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Beverly Drake poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries’ Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is the first time Drake has been able to volunteer after having his knee replaced. “I’m thankful that God is still on the throne, everything will be fine,” Drake said.

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Volunteers set tables as guests enter the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal Dining Room at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Volunteers prepare food at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Malik Brown poses for a photo as he volunteers at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I am grateful to help the less fortunate,” said Brown.

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People walk to the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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People walk to the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Volunteers collect boxes of hot food to serve guests at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Don VanderBoegh, who has volunteered for 4 years with his wife, at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I thank my wife, my family and our good health,” VanderBoegh said.

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Kat Waite and Eric Burch pose for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m grateful that I’m still alive. I have a little girl on the way. I have my daughter in my life, the only one I have right now,” said Burch.

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Isabel Dashner, 9, and her father carry a box of hot food to serve a family at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Volunteers from Gerald R. Ford Job Corps work to unwrap and cut pies at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Dianne VanderBoegh, who has volunteered for 4 years with her husband, poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m grateful for my salvation, my husband, my family, my home,” Vanderboegh said

Brian Hayes | MLive.com

Volunteers from Gerald R. Ford Job Corps work to unwrap and cut pies at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Brian Hayes | MLive.com

Volunteers fill carafes of coffee at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Scott Campbell poses for a photo at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Campbell is grateful to have someone to eat a Thanksgiving meal with.

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at the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Brian Hayes | MLive.com

People gather and eat in the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal Dining Room at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Brian Hayes | MLive.com

People gather and eat in the Mel Trotter Ministries Thanksgiving Community Meal Dining Room at DeVos Place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


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