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Volunteers serve up Easter feast for homeless

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Apr. 24, 2011 at 5:20 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Pastors, ministers and volunteers from the community woke up early Easter morning to serve up a feast for Salt Lake City's homeless.

The goal of Sunday's meal at Pioneer Park was not just fill stomachs, but to get these people back on their feet. The event was organized by the Salt Lake City Mission.

Many people who came to the turkey feast said it was hard to think of Easter when they weren't sure where the next meal would come from.

"They say good things come in threes, and three nights ago, I had no clothes but what I had on," said Cynthia Cook.

Rev. Jay Ragsdale with the Calvary Baptist Church
Rev. Jay Ragsdale with the Calvary Baptist Church

Volunteers served hundreds of homeless people throughout the day. Many of those served said addiction is what keeps them on the streets.

"I don't know what I'm going to do next. I'm here one day at a time," said Margaret McArthur. "I'm an alcoholic."

Kristen Weber battles the same problem. "I do drink and it's my biggest nemesis," she said.

When all they have is each other, they say it's tough to think of any day as a holiday.

"I told her - you need to get away from the alcohol, you need to get cleaned up, you need to get dried out," Cook said.


The food helps, the clothes are wonderful, but it's the music, it's the spirit, it's the people that are here that are real - that bring Easter to us that don't have.

–Kristen Weber


Volunteers here say it's a story they see too often as they work to help hundreds of homeless each week.

"A lot of these people that you see volunteering here today, was in this park, living in this park, but now they're on their feet, doing a lot better," said Rev. Jay Ragsdale with the Calvary Baptist Church.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants the long-term help. Weber says she's thinking about rehab but isn't sure if she's ready. This Easter, she's happy for the simple things.

"The food helps, the clothes are wonderful, but it's the music, it's the spirit, it's the people that are here that are real - that bring Easter to us that don't have," she said.

Volunteers with the Salt Lake City Mission spent the whole day serving meals. Members of the Calvary Baptist Church come every Sunday.

Both organizations say they have programs to help people overcome drug and alcohol addictions. Leaders say the most difficult thing is that they can't help people who don't want the help.

Email: manderson@ksl.com

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