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Feeding the Flock

The basement room at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Ashburn looked like a Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends. There was no indication that some of the guests did not know each other.

"You look across here and you donÕt know whoÕs homeless," said John Brothers, executive director of the Good Shepherd Alliance. "The individual who comes here feels like they are not a special case É not treated as charity."

Church members could not say exactly how many years they have put on a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless, but they agreed it has become a tradition. Lisa Jorgensen, coordinator, said the dinner is for the "church family" as well. They prepared enough food for 80 people, she said. "ItÕs a party!"

Brothers said Loudoun County has five homeless shelters: two emergency, one domestic violence, one transitional and one day, operated by the Alliance, Volunteers of America and the Loudoun Abused WomenÕs Shelter.

Jorgensen volunteered with her mother and father the night before Thanksgiving. She said she enjoys coordinating the dinner. "I love to serve," she said. "I love my church family."