PASCO -- Nine-year-old Addison Dolan helped her grandmother make pumpkin pies, then delivered two of them to the Union Gospel Mission on Thanksgiving day.
It's a family tradition to deliver food to the mission a couple of times a year, said Addison's grandmother, Margo Souhrada of Kennewick. Souhrada started bringing her children to make food donations, and now she's bringing her granddaughter, who was visiting from Las Vegas.
"It's so we can help other people who don't have food," Addison said, after the family unloaded not just home-baked pies, but also other groceries.
About 100 volunteers were needed to help staff with the Thanksgiving meals served at the mission Wednesday night and Thursday.
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The mission's homeless shelter is packed during the current cold snap, with people sleeping not only in its dormitories, but 40 people on its chapel floor and 10 on the day room floor.
But Thursday, the sleeping pallets had been stacked at the back of the chapel and one of three shifts of volunteers working on the Thanksgiving dinner had set up tables and chairs to convert the chapel into a dining hall for 80.
The final shift of volunteers dished up and served full plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, yams, cranberry sauce, after a starter of green salad and trays of deviled eggs, fruit and vegetables.
Brothers Gabriel Aviles, 13, and Jordan Aviles, 16, of Pasco, were put in charge of the salad, piling it on plates and then offering salad dressing.
"I had to keep moving," Jordan said after the first rush of hungry diners.
Their parents, Lee and Cathy Aviles, had made plans to help with the dinner at the shelter in late summer, and both sons said they had been looking forward to experiencing something new.
The family has benefited from many giving people in the community, particularly in sports and teachers, Lee Aviles said. "We always feel like we need to give back."
Those who eat the meal are "very appreciative," and it feels like an honor to help, said Jan Leveque, of Richland. She and her husband, Bob, volunteered Thursday for the seventh year at the mission.
The mission had expected to serve 130 meals Wednesday night, but ended up serving at least 220, said Andrew Porter, assistant executive director of the mission.
The holiday dinners serve not only the men, women and children staying at the mission, but more people from the community than usual also showed up last night, he said.
Some he knew as former residents of the mission, now trying to make it on their own, and others were strangers in need of a good hot meal. One volunteer helped elderly people up the stairs to the chapel, converted into a dining hall.
Porter expected at least 130 people to eat in shifts Thanksgiving afternoon.
"I like all of it," said Ryan King, who is living at the mission, as he dug into his plate of food. "I'm glad to be indoors and have a good dinner and to have decent people around to provide for us."
"Good times," said Jose Hernandez, who described himself as a missionary staying at the shelter. "The people coming here, working hard -- I bless you."
* Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org.