Outreach center rebuilds after fire in time to feed homeless on Thanksgiving

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 28 at 6:41 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH-- A kitchen fire that destroyed 2,500 pounds of meat two weeks ago threatened to stop the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Judeo Christian Outreach Center in Virginia Beach.

With the help of volunteers, however, the center was able to rebuild and feed the homeless on the holiday.

“We lost a lot of stuff, but thank God the community rallied, and we got it all back in bundles,” employee Michael Robertson said.

A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, an electrical fire broke out in the kitchen. City council member Bill DeSteph got a call about the fire, and arranged for an electrician to repair the kitchen in time for the big day.

Dozens of volunteers, like Holly Vitoritt, came to help serve food.

“I know what it's like. I grew up having to go to food banks. So it's my way to give back now, and I want my kids to grow up knowing what it's like,” Vitoritt said. 

Robert Pec enjoyed a warm meal. He is homeless, but he was one of the most grateful people in the room.

“You can’t be blessed any better than me.  Just eating a meal like this is great. I haven’t had a spread like this in a long time,” Pec said. 

More than 100 people came to eat and had a chance to take seconds in to-go boxes.

The Judeo Christian Outreach Center has been serving up Thanksgiving for 25 years. Robertson said nothing will stop this tradition, and their spirit to keep giving.

“We'll be doing this again on Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve,” Robertson said. 
 

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