With the downturn in economy the last couple years, it comes as no surprise that area ministries like RAM (Roanoke Area Ministries) are preparing for a larger than normal turnout for Thanksgiving. Shelter Manager Tim Williams estimates that they have had anywhere from a 20 to 30 percent increase in meals served this past year, and expects that to hold for the Thanksgiving meal.
RAM serves a hot lunch, including on Thanksgiving Day, from noon to 1 p.m. Williams says all anyone has to do to eat at the RAM house for Thanksgiving is show up: “it’s open to the public; sign in and go for it!” He also invites anyone interested in helping out with their ministry to, “come visit anytime and see what we’re about.”
RAM has been receiving calls for several weeks from people asking about when the holiday dinner will be served. They are also getting queries from people who would like to volunteer that day. Williams says having volunteers “helps a lot. We are a small staff and we are expecting a big crowd.” He adds that he expects to see a lot of kids – with schools out, they will see “more families with kids come through.”
First organized by a group of local churches in 1971, RAM is a day shelter for the homeless, a place to turn to for emergency financial assistance and a hot meal. RAM collects hats, coats, gloves and socks each winter to distribute to the people without such necessities and assists individuals looking for permanent employment and with day-labor jobs.
Volunteers work alongside staff members in the kitchen, shelter, administrative offices and financial aid office when needed. Volunteers keep also keep the pantry organized, make food deliveries and help with special events – all of which goes on seven days a week, 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to volunteering or sending in donations, Williams has a message for those that want to help out for Thanksgiving: “Bring turkeys – right now we will take as many turkeys as we can get our hands on.”
RAM House is located at 824 Campbell Avenue, SW. For more information phone (540) 343-3753 or visit their website at www.roanokeareaministries.org