Union Gospel Mission Thanksgiving meal brings apt. complex together

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The Union Gospel Mission is responsible for providing about 60,000 holiday meals for those in need over Thanksgiving.

Their volunteers deliver turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings to satellite locations including low-income apartment buildings where residents can feast together.

Thanksgiving dinner arrived at the Wilder Square Apartments just before noon. The low-income high-rise in St. Paul was recently sold to a new ownership group. In the process, the residents lost their social services provider and nearly their holiday feast, but that wasn't an option for long-time tenant Kathy Donovan.

"We need to improve communication,” said Donovan. “Make everyone feel like they are part of the community. Try to rebuild community after it fell apart."

Donovan worked with the Union Gospel Mission and got their volunteers to deliver a hot, traditional Thanksgiving meal in the building's first floor community room. For some, including Char Burke, who don’t have family close by, this is their family. 

"We can get together and give our thanks,” said Burke.

"It means everything because people, we have a big disconnect going, we need people to socialize,” said Donovan. “Be with their friends. Enjoy the food together."

For Lisa Peterson, this is her first Thanksgiving volunteering with the Union Gospel Mission's satellite meal service that brings the feast to those in need in their home surroundings.

"We all like the same things: family, friends, good food, turkey and gravy,” said Peterson.