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Ark Refuge Ministries feeds more than 200 on Thanksgiving

For more than two decades Ark Refuge Ministries has served the community surrounding its building on Thanksgiving Day.

Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Lopez said in years past they typically make more than 700 plates. Despite COVID and lack of funds this year, Ark was still able to serve more than 200 to-go Thanksgiving meals on Thursday.  

“There are a lot of people who rely on us,” Lopez said. “We’ve been doing it for so many years that people know to just come by the Ark on Thanksgiving Day to get a meal.” 

Typically, Ark hand delivers meals to the elderly and shut ins. Lopez said due to COVID precautions they weren’t able to do that this year. 

Ark Refuge, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) 3 recognized organization dedicated to restoring the lives of individuals’ and families affected by issues related to but not limited to homelessness and substance abuse.

“We have been blessed this year,” Lopez said. “We haven’t had one COVID case with a building of 66 men here. It’s because of the practices we take here.” 

Lopez said all the men and staff in the house are like a family and have grown closer together during the pandemic. She added that a lot of residents in the building haven’t been able to see their families since March. 

“We made extra special dishes and stuff to try and make up for the guys not being able to see their family,” Lopez said. “We had to discard people going out on passes because we didn’t want anybody to bring anything back. It’s been hard and but we do what we have to do, to do our part.” 

Lopez said they’ve had to make sacrifices but it has kept all the residents and staff safe during the pandemic. 

Ark will serve meals on Christmas day as well. 

“Next week am going to start preparing for our Christmas meals,” Lopez said. “We hope we will be able to do more meals come Christmas.” 

If anyone would like to donate for the Christmas meals, call (706) 845-0335 or donate online at www.ark-refuge.com/donation. 

“Our holiday meals are very imperative,” Lopez said.

“A lot of people do meals leading up to Thanksgiving but those people who are hungry have already used it so there are still hungry people on Thanksgiving Day. They can’t survive on the foods you gave them three days ago.” 

Lopez said that even before she moved to LaGrange and was CEO of Ark her heart has always been for the less fortunate. 

“I just want people to know that somebody cares about them,” Lopez said. “Sometimes you see people in the street but you don’t really see them. You’re so busy focused on what you got to do that you don’t slow down to actually see them. I always have empathy in my heart when I see them and want to know their story.” 

For more information about Ark or how to get involved visit www.ark-refuge.com.

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