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Family continues holiday tradition of community service

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — One Michigan family is looking to spread hope for the holidays.

“It’s not much but it’s something,” said volunteer Brody Lake. “It’s a great thing, it’s a great feeling.”

Brody Lake and his son Dawson want to continue a tradition of community service for the Thanksgiving season.

Wednesday, they braved the cold and worked hours to help feed folks in South Bend.

They say they’re just following the example HOPE Ministries has demonstrated over the years.

“Year after year after year, it just kind of become a tradition not only for HOPE but people in the community as well,” said Steve Matteson, the director of Ministry Partnerships.

For more than two decades now, the center has provided special dinners on the holiday.

This year 130 volunteers will help prepare 300 meals to be served in house and 500 meals to people in need who can’t make it out Thursday.

“80 turkeys, I don’t know how much stuffing and cranberry sauce and all that that’s going to be done, but it’s a big event,” said Matteson.

Year 25 of the charity tradition still runs strong with the help of folks like Brody.

“It’s about a half hour drive [to get here],” said Lake. “I got my son here with me. He’s been here since he was just a little bitty guy because I wanted him to know; he thinks he needs something, I said ‘dude come over here with me, these little kids don’t even have shoes on.”

For 20 years, Brody lake of Ben’s BBQ in Buchanan has done his part to keep this community well-fed.

Five years ago, his son decided to follow in his footsteps.

“I learned to respect what you have and don’t ever judge somebody because some of these people are nice guys and it’s a shame how they’re homeless, it kind of hurts,” said Dawson Lake.

From the hot food to the warm clothing donations, folks outside the center Wednesday felt that compassion.

Many of them also helped prepare the food for Thursday.

Any little bit helps- according to Brody, and that’s good enough for him.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, it’s a great thing,” he said. “It’s better than any Christmas present you can get; doing this right here for me.”

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