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Mission Minded — Thanksgiving 2022

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Gearing up for our busiest time of the year

Thanksgiving has always been at the heart of The Bowery Mission. It’s the pinnacle of the year where we create a sense of home and hospitality for anyone who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.  

The people we serve are not just facing homelessness or hunger — they are experiencing an incredible sense of isolation. That experience is only intensified during the holidays, when people are going home to be around the table with people they love or who love them. 

That’s why Thanksgiving is such a critical time for us every single year. While New Yorkers experiencing homelessness constantly feel invisible or even threatened, we offer a safe and welcoming “home” — a “family table” where they are seen and heard.

At The Bowery Mission, we see how something as simple as a meal can be a lifeline, how it can give someone the courage needed to take that next step toward life change. A meal served with dignity can literally love people back to health and wholeness. It can be the difference between giving up and embracing hope for a better future. 

But we can’t do it alone. Preparing meals for this many people not only requires a lot of effort (we work around the clock for about a week preparing for Thanksgiving Day), it requires a lot of resources. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and more. Your support makes Thanksgiving special for our neighbors in need. And when everyone comes together, each person bringing their own gifts to the table, we are left with this amazing and diverse feast of generosity that we can then offer back to the city.

Thanksgiving at The Bowery Mission

What will Thanksgiving look like this year? 

This year at our Bowery Campus, we are returning to our special celebration indoors in our historic chapel, with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, music and community! We invite anyone in need of a holiday meal to join us. And with the rising cost of food and housing, we’re expecting a full house, including many people who will drop by for the very first time. Learn more about our Thanksgiving celebration.

Chef Raffaele

“I’m able to see others nourished with hope the same way I was.”  

There was a time in Chef Raffaele’s life when he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from. Though having grown up in a loving home, life took a tough turn when he was 18. From grief and incarceration to serving God as our head chef, see how Raffaele found hope at The Bowery Mission, thanks to friends like you.

This Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to seeing people celebrating together here at The Bowery Mission. And seeing our community being even more present with one another in tangible ways — even more conversations, more hugs, more lingering at the table, more human connection.

At Thanksgiving, so many New Yorkers show up to volunteer in ways that are meaningful to them. I’ll never forget when one of these volunteers, Emily, first joined us in serving on Thanksgiving Day. Just seeing our chapel moved her to tears as she remembered being here as a child when her family was experiencing homelessness. 

There are so many stories like Emily’s — stories of former guests or graduates of The Bowery Mission who come back to the place that first helped them. They are here at Thanksgiving to give back or even just to celebrate with us, and it’s such a blessing! 

I am always deeply moved when I see them again, remembering their stories and how compassionate friends like you played such an important role in their lives. Thank you for helping keep our Red Doors open for our New York neighbors in need, especially during the holiday season. 

Can I ask you to pray with us during this special season? 

  • With the critical needs on our streets and in shelters, that The Bowery Mission will continue to be an extraordinarily welcoming place for people in need — and that more people receive help available within our Red Doors.
  • For each man, woman and child we will serve this Thanksgiving, that we can meet their immediate needs. And for people who need more, that the holiday meal served with care and compassion will be the first step to a changed life — whether they need safe shelter, job training or recovery from trauma, illness or addiction. 
  • For our staff and volunteers during this busy time, as they work hard to serve our community.

Hear from our guests what your compassionate support provides: 


“Every time I have problems and I’m going through something, The Bowery Mission is always there for me. They pray for me. They give me food. It’s so important to be there for each other. It fills the belly, and it heals the heart.”Suyen


“The people at The Bowery Mission make you feel at home. I remember one time when it rained, and my clothes were all wet. I was able to get all showered with a fresh pair of clothes.”Sergio


“I’ve been coming to The Bowery Mission for about two years, consistently eating here, participating in the social services programming. What The Bowery Mission means to me is hope.”Nicolette

Thank you for making all this possible! Together, we can welcome each person who comes to our Red Doors with love, encouragement and hope at a time when they need it most.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. 

With gratitude,

James Winans, CEO

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” — Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

Looking for ways to give back this Thanksgiving?


Every day, The Bowery Mission serves hundreds of meals to neighbors in need, and any one of these meals can lead to a new life. Your generous compassion will keep our Red Doors open to provide meals and other critical care. 


Our Thanksgiving Day volunteer opportunities are extremely limited and not open to the general public. But we need help beforehand and throughout the year — join us!  Help is especially needed for Monday and Tuesday breakfast meal services, and starting the week of November 14 for Thanksgiving prep. Learn more and register

Start a fundraiser 

Employers, teams and community groups can join together and multiply their impact in support of The Bowery Mission and the people we serve. Get ideas and next steps for corporate fundraising initiatives