Located a bit off the beaten path in the Beacon Executive Suites is a small, locally owned restaurant called the Gathering Place. They may be small in size, but they are big in heart.
Once again this year, the owners of the Gathering Place, Tony Clark and Shawn Leiva, wanted to give back to those who gave us so much and now they needed our help. Through Hearts and Homes for Veterans, they were able to provide a very special holiday for 30 homeless or sheltered Veterans and their families.
The outpouring of support was just amazing. Customers, as well as business associates, donated items such as clothes, toys, and personal hygiene items to name just a few of the items donated. Cash donations went to the veterans, as well as each child. There were so many items donated that the Gathering Place had to store them in an empty office which was packed full.
The night before Thanksgiving, Tony, Shawn and some volunteers began preparing for the next day. All the clothes were sorted and laid out on tables. Each Veteran received a swag bag full of necessary items. These bags were packed and ready for when the veterans arrived. Each child also got a bag of necessary items. While the volunteers were busy preparing for the Veterans, Tony and Shawn were busy preparing food for the next day. They worked late into the night and returned early the next morning.
When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of family, friends, food, and fun, and that is just what Tony and Shawn provided for these veterans. The Gathering Place was all decorated for the holiday. Tables of clothes lined the hallways. In another area, toys were all laid out for the children to play. The counter was full of platters of cheese, fresh veggies, crackers, desserts and of course all the traditional fixings for a Thanksgiving feast. To kick off the festivities, the National Anthem was sung by Johnny Clark, who wanted to do this as his way of honoring their service.
In what seems to be a time of divisiveness, Tony and Shawn found a way to bring people together. People of diverse backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles and race. The differences did not matter and, in fact, there were no differences. People came together as one family to share a holiday. Thank you, Tony, Shawn, Chris and all those who donated their time, items and money to help make this a Thanksgiving these veterans and their families will truly remember.
The Gathering Place serves breakfast and lunch Monday – Saturday 8 am-3 pm and on the 3rd Sunday of every month from 10 -3. They are located at 8359 Beacon Blvd #630 (just follow the signs.) If you are looking for made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch, as well as some of the best cakes and pies you will ever have, then you have to stop by. They will make you feel like you are at home with friends. Please give them a like on Facebook while you are at it.