BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Goodwill hosted its annual holiday dinner at the Baltimore Convention Center Wednesday afternoon. Gigi Barnett reports on how guest received much more than a full stomach.

Goodwill’s 59th annual Thanksgiving dinner has drawn a line, outside in the wet and cold, that wraps around Baltimore’s Convention Center. But inside the center is warmth, free clothes and Thanksgiving dinner.

“Every year we see more and more people,” Lisa Rusyniak, Goodwill’s President said.

Rusyniak said the food draws guests in, but her organization really wants the focus to be on the free services they offer like employment assistance.

“There are about 25 vendors that provide all kinds of services, housing, transportation, utility assistance, all the kinds of things that might prevent someone from becoming successful on the job,” Rusyniak said.

“The meal is delicious,” Gale Hannah, dinner guest said.

Hannah, who has been homeless for nearly a month, is a first time dinner guest. She said she’s grateful to receive it all.

“I’m overwhelmed. I am very overwhelmed that they’re doing something, you know? It’s not just for anybody, it’s for everybody,” Hannah said.

The sit down dinner is one of the longest-running free Thanksgiving events in Baltimore. By the end of the day at least 300 volunteers will serve more than 3,000 guests at this Thanksgiving dinner.

Dinner guests, like Barbara Milligan, said that the event is worth the wait, even in the cold temperatures.

“I got a fur coat and I was freezing in this too, but the coffee helps,” Milligan said.

Goodwill also hosted a dinner in Annapolis today.


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