AUSTIN (KXAN) - Upscale dining out at The Mansion at Judge's Hill in centralAustin brought Michelle Zumar and her mother Sheila Koehler tospend a Thanksgiving lunch together - just the two of them.
"The children and some other parts of the family were all goingin other directions,” said Koehler, “and so it was justshe and I - my daughter."
"We thought, 'Well, we cook all the time for other people fordifferent reasons,’” said Zumar, “so let's justnot worry about all the preparation and enjoy going out and havingsomeone do it for us.'"
Keeping family together, even when most were gone this holidaywas important for this pair. The same stood at the Salvation Armyin downtown Austin.
Dennis Montgomery, his wife and three kids have been stayinghere for a while, trying to get back on their feet.
“Honestly, if this place wasn't here,” Montgomerysaid, “we wouldn't have nowhere to go. I mean, it's thetruth."
The 1,200 other hungry mouths there on Thanksgiving had similarstories to tell.
"A special holiday for me and my wife to be together for thefirst time in years,” said Tony Greenhaw.
Greenhaw and his wife were separated, until he recently paroledout of prison. During his incarceration, he almost lost Rhonda in adevastating car wreck. She said she held on, thinking of him andnow thanking God.
"I’m able to walk and talk and breathe like normal peoplenow,” said Rhonda Sanders. “Even though I lost my arm,I'm thankful I still have something."
Zumar said some struggles like that seem so severe, when youcompare them to a few days without your kids. But she also said, itcould be her needing that kind of help had it not been for hermother, who took her and her two kids in earlier this year when shelost her job as an accountant.
"I'm thankful that my mom's been here to help,” she said,“and I now have a new job. It's going very well, and I thinkthings are getting better."
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