- September 1, 2011
City, county and state officials mingled with community members in St. Martha Catholic Church’s parish hall as Sarasota Ministerial Association chairman Tom Pfaff took the stage.
“If everybody would please take your seats, our guests are about to arrive,” Pfaff said.
People experiencing homelessness were welcomed into the hall and ushered to tables decorated with holiday garnish.
The Sarasota Ministerial Association has hosted its Thanksgiving Community Luncheon for 16 years to create a safe community space for people experiencing homelessness to enjoy the holiday.
Members of Cardinal Mooney High School’s St. Vincent de Paul volunteer club and parent volunteers formed a finely tuned system of portioning and serving plates to attendees. Club advisor Scott Scheurer said this event is among the students’ favorite to volunteer opportunities.
“It’s a sit-down meal,” Scheurer said. “(People aren’t) just coming in line and being served food and going on their way. Our students are getting the sense that they are able to serve.”
The food was provided by Yoder’s and Der Dutchman Restaurants and Ernie Cave Catering, but Pfaff said the event is about more than the meal. It’s about creating a sense of community.
“We’re not inviting homeless people to a feeding,” Pfaff said. “We’re inviting people experiencing homelessness to a family.”