Cherry Street Mission Ministries Inc., Lucas County's largest homeless shelter, announced yesterday it will expand its Thanksgiving Day dinners to meet an increasing need.
Thanksgiving dinner will be served for women and children only for the first time at the Sparrow's Nest, 436 Delaware Ave. from noon to 5 p.m.
Meals also will be served at the Community and Food Service Building, 1919 Madison Ave., from noon to 7 p.m.
The mission expects to serve about 700 meals on Thanksgiving.
The shelter held a media event yesterday to kick off National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, which began yesterday.
The shelter typically serves 550 meals a day, up from 317 just six weeks ago, said Rodney Schuster, director of development for the shelter.
The shelter, which is at Monroe and 17th streets, expanded last year into a new building at 1919 Madison.
Occupancy rates at the mission's shelter have been growing from an average of 55 nightly residents six years ago to 137 in 2005.
About 170 residents are at the shelter each night now, Mr. Schuster said.
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