Oliver Gospel Mission serves their annual Thanksgiving meal - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Oliver Gospel Mission serves their annual Thanksgiving meal

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

While some people are heading out of town for the holidays or getting ready to cook a big meal for their families, there are those who are not as fortunate.

Volunteers at the Oliver Gospel Mission served a Thanksgiving feast to more than 300 people.

If you step inside the Oliver Gospel Mission during the annual meal, it's not hard to see why they've been doing it for more than 25 years.

"We actually serve over 76,000 meals a year through our doors everyday seven days a week," said Beth Well, a worker at the organization.

Every year, they serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal where both men and women can enjoy the food and fellowship.

"Thanks to Oliver Gospel Mission and Thanksgiving dinners like this - a lot of hopeful things happen," said Spencer Bowman.

"Charity is the most honest and giving thing anybody could do."

"Serving food is one of the big things we do here at the mission but what a lot of people in the community don't realize is we don't just give out food, shelter and clothing every night," said Well. "We actually have programs in place that are transforming men's lives."

Men like James Howard, who is homeless, and has been looking for a job for the last year.

"I had left a former job trying to get more income and more hours and unfortunately it backfired on me and I got to the point where financially I couldn't afford it," said Howard.

For the past four months, Oliver Gospel Mission has been helping him look for a job.

"It hasn't been good," said Howard, "it's been really discouraging."

But like many of the men gathered at the table, Howard hasn't lost hope.

"Each day I wake up with the opportunity to express to God my appreciation that there is a place that cares for the homeless," said Howard.

A humbling reminder in the Mission that sometimes we take for granted many of the things for which we should be thankful.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

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