After 135 years the Bowery Mission is still helping people, and this past Thanksgiving they were certainly still at it.
One mother from Queens, Jenny Vargas, together with her 6-year-old daughter Lian, were just two people who benefited from a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, in addition to the other benefits they receive from the Bowery Mission.
Although Vargas, a 37-year-old immigrant from Peru, works as a house cleaner, she often finds it hard to put enough food on the table on her income alone. “Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes it’s not enough,” she explains.
Vargas comes to the Bowery Mission on the Lower East Side from her home in Queens to fill up on essential supplies when she just can’t afford them herself. When she heard that the mission was hosting a traditional Thanksgiving meal, she wanted to be on hand with her daughter; not just to have a great meal, but to also show that she understands the meaning of this quintessential American holiday.
“I want to say thank you, because we have everything — health, food, she’s going to school. We don’t need a lot,” she said. “I want her to know what we do for Thanksgiving — and why. This is a time to give thanks.”
As it has during the past century plus, the Bowery Mission served thousands of meals to those entering the premises as well as those getting their meals delivered all over New York.
“We’re trying to provide a Thanksgiving meal for folks who otherwise wouldn’t have family to be with,” said James Winans, the chief development officer.