Memphis City Hall to host Thanksgiving meal for homeless

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The annual Thanksgiving meal for the homeless is back on and will take place at Memphis City Hall, city leaders announced Tuesday.

Late Monday, organizers of the meal said it was canceled because of construction work at its traditional venue, the Memphis Convention Center. By Tuesday, city leaders said they were working on another plan.

Then, during a City Council meeting Tuesday afternoon, city CEO Doug McGowen said City Hall would serve as a backup location.

"This is the people's house, so why not let people eat here," McGowen said.

The meal is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving, he said, although he acknowledged the location could change again if a better site is found.

Ursula Madden with the city of Memphis said the Thanksgiving dinner is put on by a nonprofit, the Thanksgiving Dinner Committee. The city provided the Cook Convention Center as the venue but this year it's unavailable because it's under renovation.

"This is not our event. This is something that we were trying to help out with and make sure it was going to happen," Madden said.

She said the city tried to help the non-profit find another venue, even offering up city hall but the committee said it wouldn't work.

Earl Sayles with the Thanksgiving Dinner Committee admitted things became overwhelming for his volunteer-based group.

With their deal with the Convention Center, tables, chairs, bathrooms and security were included, which was important because money is always an issue.

Several church leaders stepped up to try to help before the City Hall was secured.

The Memphis Union Mission will be holding a meal for the homeless on Wednesday, November 27. Another meal will be available on Thanksgiving Day at St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission.

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