This concept is also the theme of the upcoming One City Family Thanksgiving Celebration this Thursday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ventura. It's a commingling of people from all walks of life merged in one spot to pass the gravy and share camaraderie and turkey legs.
Designed to put a spotlight on the city's homelessness issues, it is more than the traditional Thanksgiving "soup kitchen" approach where community leaders typically don aprons for the day to serve an underprivileged population.
"We're reaching beyond the local homeless population and into the community as a whole. We sit together. We share a meal. We share a table," said Jesse Giglio, the event's coordinator.
The day is being planned by the Faith Communities Subcommittee of the Ventura Social Services Task Force (VSSTF). Ten different churches have stepped up to help and another 20 are in the network, Giglio said. The VSSTF is a community-based organization with a goal of ending homelessness in the city of Ventura. It's a big task, no doubt, as the economy worsens, jobs are lost and social services are cut and stretched.
The faith-based and greater volunteer community will be called upon to do even more. But finding the dollars and manpower to help is not easy unless the great need is communicated. And this is an effort to do just that, Giglio said. "It's an awareness and education event as well as a celebration event."
IF THE OUTPOURING OF HELP for "One City" is any indication, Venturans are up for the task. "It's spread to the far reaches of the community," Giglio said. In addition to the churches and local temple, many individual businesses and families have contributed money and food. The new Watermark restaurant Downtown is cooking and serving all the side dishes.
Giglio said he and his volunteers are preparing enough food to feed 600 people. The day will also include live music, a communal art project, plus inflatable jumpers and craft activities for children.
It's clear this group intends to make its efforts last beyond just one day of thanks. The group's next event is "One City, One Weekend, One Fund" set for Feb. 14-17. Details will be forthcoming.
Everyone in the city of Ventura is invited to the free first annual One City Family Thanksgiving Celebration as long as the food lasts. It will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 36 Figueroa St. (behind Pierano's/Jonathan's at 100 Main Street). Interested volunteers and other helpers should call Jesse Giglio, Community Life Pastor, Ventura Missionary Church, at 642-0550 ext. 376, or email email@example.com.