Open Pantry's annual Thanksgiving dinner returns in-person in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - For the past three years pandemic related concerns kept Springfield's Open Pantry Community Services from hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter Sunday dinners for the homeless and families in need. But this Thanksgiving day they were back at the High School of Commerce.

The Open Pantry community services began this holiday tradition nearly 50 years ago with a small army of volunteers cooking and serving turkey dinner for hundreds of homeless men and women. The occasion isn't just for the homeless but for families with no one to share a Thanksgiving meal.

Over the years these holiday meals have come to mean so much to the people who share the food and the camaraderie denied from them during the pandemic. The volunteers serving them quickly recognized the full impart of helping these folks gather in the spirit of the holiday.

"It's been such an amazing feeling to see people thankful going through all these struggles," said Leia Bhuiya.

These holiday dinners prepared and served by Open Pantry Community services date back to 1975. Since then so many of the homeless and the lonely families have enjoyed the sense of togetherness that has come from this event of generosity and humanity in celebration of a holiday..

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