With Students' Help, Homeless Get Turkey

With help from Harvard students and the greater Cambridge community, homeless Cantabrigians will not be left cold and hungry this Thanks-giving, as the all-student-run University Lutheran Church Shelter and other area shelters will offer Thanks-giving meals this Thursday.

"We're a call-up shelter," said Jim Birge '95, one of the directors of the University Lutheran Church Shelter. Approximately 23 guests are normally houses in the shelter, which is staffed daily by four to eight student volunteers. But this Thanksgiving, directors plan to serve more than 30 people for dinner and add more than 30 volunteers to the staff.

"It's very difficult to turn people away," said Birge.

Starting at 5 p.m., students will be cooking dinner, preparing the shelter dining room, chatting with guests, setting up beds and "playing cards," said Maria P. Rogahn '95, director of volunteers. Night shift workers will stay in the shelter from 11 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. to counsel guests and ensure that the shelter runs smoothly.

The shelter's food supply, normally donated from the salvages of the Harvard Student Dining Services, will be specially purchased for the occasion.


Located on 66 Dunster St. behind Kirkland House, the shelter stands as a microcosm of societal and human difficulty. "You realize how individual problems are for each person. Each person is a different history and dilemma," Rogahn said. "It's definitely eye-opening."

Rogahn placed posters throughout the houses last week asking for new volunteers. "We're still looking for volunteers for Friday and Saturday nights," she said.

"It's a chance (for students) to step out of Harvard life and see the real world for a while," said Birge.

Other shelters, including the York St. shelter located at 270 Washington St., theCASPAR Shelter located at 240 Albany St., and St.Paul's AME at 85 Bishop Allen Drive will beproviding Thanksgiving meals as well.

Henry Gaul of the Caspar shelter, which servesalcoholic and drug-dependent homeless people,pointed out that Cambridge residents donated allfive turkeys necessary for Thanksgiving dinner.Cambridge residents will also provide the 12-15person volunteer staff to operate the shelter,which is expecting between 80 and 90 guestsstarting at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon. TheYork St. shelter will be serving approximately 24four guests from 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Other Area Organizations

Other area charitable organizations, includingthe Salvation Army, the First Church Shelter, andShelter Inc., will be providing Thanksgivingdinners but could not provide informationyesterday

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