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Nov 22, 2012 5:54 PM by David Ortiviz

Thanksgiving spirit comes alive at Union Depot

The true meaning of Thanksgiving was on display at the Union Depot in Pueblo today. While 1,500 people gathered to give thanks for a holiday dinner, it was about much more than a hot meal.

The Thanksgiving Day dinner was loaded with smiles, good food and a side of compassion. "I really love helping out on Thanksgiving, It's fun," said a young boy who was volunteering.

The event, running 25-years strong, is a way to serve the homeless or anyone in need. However, sometimes fellowship, outweighs the free food.

"When we come up here we don't come here to eat, we come to make sure that everybody else that is homeless is all right and they're all alive," said Charles Piper, a homeless man.

We heard stories of generosity, like Piper who says he helps friends from starving. "I go dumpster diving and I get whole turkeys and whole hams and I just give it away," said Piper.

That giving spirit echoed throughout the room. More than a hundred volunteers, including the Gray family from Colorado Springs. "I like helping people because it's the right thing to do," said ?? Gray.

Their father, Major David Gray, recently died in combat. "He was with the 4th brigade, 4th combat team and he was killed by a suicide bomber on August 8th," said Heather Gray, his widow.

Gray says she wanted to be at the depot this Thanksgiving. "I'm trying to teach my kids that if you give back and you think outside of yourself it lessons the pain and it help you to realize life goes on and we're not guaranteed tomorrow, so it's important to just continue to serve others just like they served us," said Gray.

It's those stories of mending hearts and generous gestures that bring these strangers together once a year, on a day for giving thanks. "Life is beautiful, life is good and I thank the lord everyday for my first breathe of life," said Piper.

The Wayside Cross Gospel Rescue Mission organized the event and today they also kicked off a special fundraiser. They plan to raffle off two classic cars, a '66 Ford Mustang and a 1970's Cadillac. That raffle will run through the holiday season. The mission hopes to use proceeds to help build a new $4 million homeless shelter.

 

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