Thanksgiving often is a time for families around the country to come together and give thanks for what they have.
For some families, that meant giving up part of the holiday to volunteer at various places in Williamsport, including the American Rescue Workers, serving meals to the hungry.
Mary Lee Ginanni, of Williamsport, said she was helping serve the Thanksgiving meal at the American Rescue Workers for the first time with her husband because if it were not for the grace of God, they might be on the receiving side rather than the giving side.
Aaron Johnson, left, and Tim Hohl, both of Williamsport, volunteer their time to fill empty plates with a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at the American Rescue Workers.
From left, Jonah, Luke, Lydia, Chris and Kelly Paulhamus, all of Trout Run, work together Thursday to help give food to the hungry at the American Rescue Workers, 643 Elmira St.
Numerous pies, cookies, brownies and other desserts await hungry diners on Thursday at the American Rescue Workers’ facility.
"We believe that we are commissioned to the Lord to help serve," Ginanni said.
The volunteers worked in shifts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 4 p.m.
Ginanni spent her shift cutting and serving donated desserts.
While she was happy to be helping and giving out the food, it was bittersweet to see that so many people needed food.
"It's a strange feeling," she said. "You're excited to give food away, but not."
Men's center director Kevin Carroll estimated about 400 meals were served at the American Rescue Workers.
That number has remained the same for a while. It used to be higher, but Carroll attributes the decrease to an increase in the number of places providing food in the area.
Feeding all of the people requires 28 turkeys, or about 500 pounds of meat, which is prepared three or four days in advance.
Whatever leftovers remain after the meal are made into various recipes for the men's center for the next few days.
Carroll's family also was involved with helping. His wife and children helped with tasks such as washing the dirty dishes.
"We're a team here," Carroll said.
Twenty-eight volunteers were on hand to distribute food and clean.
The Paulhamus family of Trout Run also donated their time. Kelly and Chris
brought their three kids - Jonah, Luke and Lydia - to give out drinks and rolls.
About two months ago, they were reading their daily devotions when they came across one about serving others, so they decided to help others on Thanksgiving, something they had done years ago.
Kelly wanted to give her children an opportunity to serve the Lord and receive the experience.
"More teens should do it to get the understanding of how it works," Jonah said.
Chris enjoyed the opportunity to help others because it was a chance for him to do so with his family.
Kelly said she would like to see it become a biennial event with the family.
"You never know when you could be in the same spot," she said.