Dear Friends:

In my lifetime Thanksgiving has evolved from a “semi-spiritual” holiday to a national “food” holiday. In many places any mention of God is frowned upon.  Thanksgiving to many Americans has evolved to being all about food, recipes, menus, and family gatherings.

For me and our staff, Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year at River of Life Mission.  It is also the kickoff to the Christmas holiday season. For me personally it is a time for reflection on the Lord and His amazing and faithful provision. Our staff finds it easy to be thankful each day. That is in part because we serve those who are profoundly thankful for a cup of cold water or a hot meal. Our guests are thankful for a clean shirt or jacket. One person was grateful for a pair of shoelaces which helped their donated wrong size shoes fit a little better.  Some are grateful simply to be recognized as we talked to them.

Sometimes I think of our five sons. I am thankful for them. I believe they are also thankful for jobs, children, grandchildren, and a house to live in. Some are thankful for the spiritual foundation upon which my wife and I try to build our family on.

I would be curious to know what kind of things you (our donors) are thankful for in the year of the coronavirus. I am guessing that some of you are so busy with jobs, family, health care, childcare or eldercare you haven’t had time to think much about Thanksgiving or anything else but how to keep on keeping on. Others may be grateful for a bed to sleep in, a kitchen with food and a stove on which to cook, access to a washer and dryer, family, friends and a steady income. Many of you are very busy scrambling to provide for and care for those who are dependent upon you. Sometimes we carry such heavy burdens that we can hardly feel thankful for anything.

I want you to know that on this day (and almost every other day) I am thinking of you with thanksgiving. You make it possible for the mission to serve and minister to people who have relatively little for which to be thankful. I appreciate your faithfulness, care, donations and concern. Thank you for caring. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the many notes that you send to me expressing gratitude. I am also thankful for the staff who have labored tirelessly during this difficult time. They have been real troopers. Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic they still find time to minister to those in need. The staff and I are both amazed at the outpouring of support that the mission has received during this pandemic.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to serve dinner in our dining room as the current requirements prevent us from doing so. We will still have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner that will be served to those in need. We will also be delivering to senior citizen centers as we have in the past. May you and your family have the best Thanksgiving possible under the current conditions. Thank you for helping us to help others. I am truly thankful for you. May the Lord bless you today and always.

Happy Thanksgiving

In His Service,

Bob Marchant