NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — They line up hours before for a warm meal, warm clothes, and warm, friendly faces.
New Haven restaurant Christopher Martins hosts its neighbors in need every year on Thanksgiving.
“It’s amazing what people will do for other people,” said dinner guest Michael Osika. “It puts you in a good mood.”
“They’re served on china, not paper plates,” said longtime volunteer Maria Porto. “They’re served by people in black and white and bow ties, and having as much as they want. They can have seconds, they can bring leftovers and I think they feel good too.”
“Everybody enjoys coming here and the food is first class, “said Osika.
Hundreds come out for this Thanksgiving dinner every year, but it doesn’t just mean a lot to the diners, it means a lot to the volunteers.
“Part of working here is being part of this family and chipping in to help out,” said Porto.
Volunteers like Porto are here year after year, but running show is owner Chris Vigilante’s 11-year-old daughter, Katie.
“We have a lot of volunteers, it’s a big community effort,” Katie said. She along with her siblings, cousins, and friends, are amongst the youngest volunteers.
After the feast, their guests are treated to jackets, hats, and more, all free to take.
“It’s great to see everyone come together for the clothing, the food,” said dinner guest Michael Mills. “I’m homeless too, so this is benefitting me, too”