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Give Thanks at Dallas 24 Hour Club

Full of gratitude and fellowship, Thanksgiving at nonprofit Dallas 24 Hour Club goes beyond just a feast.

Volunteers lining up with holiday food, the kitchen crew setting up a nearly bottomless buffet, the facilities coordinator frying turkeys on the back porch—this is how Thanksgiving Day starts at Dallas 24 Hour Club. “Our Thanksgiving celebration reinforces that The 24 is truly a family for [its] residents, alumni, and community members,” former CEO Marsha Williamson says. “We are home for those who until recently didn’t have a home.”

Founded by Lee Tillman in 1969 and expanded by Williamson in 2018, The 24 provides a safe space for recovering addicts to live, work, and grow. Its 75-bed home, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, offers hot showers, fresh clothes, food for the first 30 days, toiletries, linens, and, most importantly, a family environment for residents.

“A lot of people come to The 24 broken with strained family relationships,” 24 alum and Tillman House Men’s Liaison Bobby D. says. “Early on in recovery, it’s important for people to feel like they have family and connections with others. The 24 provides that through holiday celebrations like Thanksgiving Dinner.”

Beyond the community of supporters, alumni, staff, and residents that come together for The 24’s Thanksgiving, the event also offers an opportunity for residents to reconnect with their family members in a safe space, according to former resident and new CEO Tim Grigsby.

“A lot of times we're not ready to be back in the same household, but it really can work wonders to dip your toe in the pond of getting back together with family by having them down here to The 24 on a holiday,” Grigsby says. “I can remember not being welcome at my family's house when I lived at the 24 Hour Club, but we would get together for Thanksgiving at The 24,” Grigsby says.

For many recovering addicts, the holidays can be an especially difficult time—they might not be able to see their family or it might be a time when they’d traditionally use. The cure for this, according to Grigsby, is service work. About a decade before becoming the CEO in September 2023, he spent the night before his first Thanksgiving at The 24 as a resident volunteering in the kitchen. “I cut up 16 of the biggest turkeys I'd ever seen from 9:15 p.m. until 3 o'clock in the morning, and I was so happy,” Grigsby says.

From surrounding residents with a sense of community and purpose to bringing families closer, Thanksgiving at The 24 is so much more than a turkey feast—it’s a showering of love and support for residents who haven’t always had that.

“There's not a lot of smiles, there's not a lot of laughs, there's not a lot of fellowship, and there's not a lot of friends when we're homeless and in our addiction,” Grigsby says. “Thanksgiving is the exact opposite of that. It's friends, it's family, it’s food. It's laughter and smiling. Our residents don't take that stuff for granted because they've been without.”

Volunteers can sign up to bring food or serve on Thanksgiving at dallas24hourclub.com.

“Our Thanksgiving celebration reinforces that The 24 is truly a family for [its] residents, alumni, and community members.” - Former CEO Marsha Williamson

“Early on in recovery, it’s important for people to feel like they have family and connections with others. The 24 provides that through holiday celebrations like Thanksgiving Dinner.” - Alum and Tillman House Men’s Liaison Bobby D.

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