Helping local homeless have a Thanksgiving meal

WASHINGTON — It started in 2002, when a local man ended up sharing Thanksgiving with about seven homeless men in D.C. Now, that one man, with the help of volunteers, is sharing a Thanksgiving Day meal with hundreds of the homeless.

Jay Herriott is founder of “The 25th Project.” It works with D.C.’s and Northern Virginia’s homeless population. This Thanksgiving, Herriott is hoping to tops last year’s number of 465 Thanksgiving Day meals that were handed to the homeless. The volunteers went out into the community and met the homeless where they were.

Herriott is putting out the call this Thanksgiving for both food and volunteers. He says they will meet at Burke Community Church at 9900 Old Keene Mill Rd in Burke, Virginia at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day to prepare meals for the homeless.

“We’re asking people to bring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, pies,” Herriott said.
Basically, all the Thanksgiving Day meal staples. Also, the food should be cooked. If you would like to drop off food before Thanksgiving, you can drop it off at 6908 Sydenstricker Road in Springfield, Virginia.

Herriott is also asking for volunteers to plate the meals, and others to hand out them out. He says once the individual meals have been plated, they will leave the church about 10:45 a.m. Herriott says the volunteers will head to the homeless camps in Prince William County to hand out meals, and into D.C. to serve up meals to the homeless at Franklin Square Park and at several shelters in the District. Herriott says they usually are wrapped up and arrive back at Burke Church by about 2:30.p.m.

As far as volunteering, Herriott says some people just drop off food, while others come to help make the plates and then leave. Still, he says there are other volunteers who stay all day, until the very last meal is delivered. If you have questions you can email Jay Herriott.

“The 25th Project” (T25P) began in 2010, when both Thanksgiving and Christmas fell on the 25th. From that, the name “The 25th Project” was born. Herriott says volunteers with T25P have been giving out meals on the 25th of every month since then. But the group’s mission has expanded to provide living essentials, such as tents, sleeping bags, clothing, tarps and other items to the homeless — made possible through both private and corporate donations.

On Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, T25P is holding a propane drive. Herriott says, “So that we can refill propane tanks ’cause that’s how the homeless heat their tents. So we need funds for buying propane on Friday, and if people want to come out and help deliver the propane as well, we would be more than happy to have them.”

He says they will meet at Burke Community Church about 12:30 on Friday, Nov. 25.

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