Volunteering on Thanksgiving in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Volunteering on Thanksgiving in Yakima

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Instead of cooking up a big Thanksgiving dinner at home, dozens of people in Yakima volunteered to help those less fortunate. Instead of cooking up a big Thanksgiving dinner at home, dozens of people in Yakima volunteered to help those less fortunate.

YAKIMA, WA - Instead of cooking up a big Thanksgiving dinner at home, dozens of people in Yakima volunteered to help those less fortunate.

It's the first time volunteering on Thanksgiving for Esperanza Lemos and her husband. They're looking to not only bring happiness to other peoples' hearts but also to theirs as well. The couple's son passed away eight months ago.

"We thought it would be a good tribute to him," said Lemos. "He was always very compassionate about helping others."

This is their first Thanksgiving without him and instead of having a meal at home, they're helping serve hundreds of dinners at the Union Gospel Mission.

"We're just sorry we hadn't done this before our son's death, and we'll continue to do this from now on," said Lemos.

Like the Lemos family dozens of volunteers have their own story to share but it all centers around one thing, the need to give back to the community they live in.

"My husband and I have four kids and we feel very blessed, and we just wanted to give back and serve some less fortunate hungry people," said Jennifer Fischer.

"I think that if it wasn't for the Union Gospel Mission, there'd be many people out on the streets and not with a warm good meal on Thanksgiving," said Lemos.

Volunteers said they served around 350 meals on Wednesday and on Tuesday, they handed out around 250.

"I think our first year we were a little bit surprised, but now we kind of come to know what to expect, and sometimes we see the same people we've seen in the past," said Fischer.

The Yakima Union Gospel Mission plays a big part in helping the homeless and low-income families. During the month of September they served more than 10,000 meals, and just this week they handed out 500 turkey dinners.

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