Jessika Hall, a senior at Clay Local High School, spent her Thanksgiving week preparing to serve the homeless through a dinner for 20 that took her a month to plan and raise the funds for. The student says that serving the Scioto County Homeless Shelter on Thanksgiving made for a powerful experience and she is glad for the opportunity to give back.
Helping her was a supportive family: mother, Amy Hall, and close family friend, Fred Lester. She also had friends helping her carry food and prepare for the feast.
“Jessika wanted to make sure they had everything this Thanksgiving, so we made two turkeys, dressing, sweet potatoes, cobblers, pies, pumpkin logs, green beans, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and more,” Amy Hall said. “I’ve never cooked for this many before, but I am just proud of Jessika for stepping up and making something happen.”
Jessika said that preparing the meal with her family was fun and knowing it was going towards a good cause was rewarding.
“It made Thanksgiving special,” Jessika said. “I’ve enjoyed helping others and giving thanks, which is what this season is all about.”
Jessika explained that she started planning the dinner in order to give back, as well as to give her fellow Panthers an opportunity to serve others.
“I believe that tithing is the same as worshiping in a church,” Jessika said. “Tithing can be giving to your church or giving to anyone in need. I believe this is something God wants me to do.”
Jessika went on to give credit to her Christian faith and quoted Matthew 25-35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Scioto County Homeless Shelter House Manager Doug Younts has been with the shelter for six years. He said that, because of the dropping economy, the shelter receives less and less support, and it is always uplifting to see students step up to help those who are in the most need.
“People like her can help cause a comeback,” Younts said. “When I first started, we had lots of donations and support, but the times have changed and people have slowly been able to help less and less, but, then there are people like Jessika.”
Younts said that well over 20 individuals received a meal because of the Hall family.
“She is providing a blessing to these residents and they are excited,” Maureen Cadogan, director, said. “There is always a bit of nervousness and anxiety this time of year, because they are not in a home for the holidays, but, because of people like her, the shelter becomes a home.”
Joseph Pratt may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.