Mission: Thanksgiving

Monetary Donations
Frozen Meat (Deer or Cow)
Non-perishable Food
New Socks and Underwear
Sleeping Bags
Bottled Water & Soft Drinks
Travel Size Personal Hygiene Items
7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Love and Care Ministries
(325) 670-0246233 Fannin Street
Abilene, Texas 79603
FRIDAY, Nov. 19
7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Arrow Ford
4001 South First Street
MORE INFORMATION: Contact Mark Hewitt, executive director of Love & Care Ministries, 325-670-0246
When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19
Where: Love & Care Ministries Merkel facility, 906 N. Third St., Merkel 
When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19
Where: Love & Care Ministries, 605 S. First St., Clyde


A year ago, Love & Care Ministries drastically changed its format for the annual Mission: Thanksgiving, and a smaller change has been adopted for this year. 

But one thing that never changes is the need, primarily for nonperishable food, winter bedding, bottled water, and cash, with food being at the top of the list.

“Our need is always canned goods,” said Mark Hewitt, founder and executive director of Love & Care Ministries.

This year, Mission: Thanksgiving will be held over two days. On Thursday, Nov. 18, items will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Love & Care Ministries offices, 233 Fannin St. On Friday, Nov. 19, goods will be accepted 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at Arrow Ford, 4001 South First Street.

Mission: Thanksgiving also will be held at Love & Care Ministries branches in Clyde and Merkel 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday only. The Clyde office is at 605 S. First St. in Clyde. The Merkel location is 906 N. Third St. in Merkel.

Love & Care Ministries is known as Abilene’s one-stop service center for homeless and needy people. But the big freeze in February 2021 proved that the ministry does even more. In the midst of the crisis, Hewitt was contacted by a church and nursing homes to provide blankets. Love & Care responded with more than 500 blankets provided.

“If there’s a need,” Hewitt said, “we’re able to respond to that need.” 

Last year, 11 trailer loads of donated items and more than $200,000 in cash was collected through the Mission: Thanksgiving drive. 

Taking donations at 2020 Mission: Thanksgiving (Photo courtesy Arrow Ford)

The event originated in 1999 as Love & Care Ministries’ one-day event to restock its supplies just before winter. From 1999 through 2019, it was held the Friday before Thanksgiving as a  drive-through event only, at Arrow Ford. 

In 2020, COVID forced a change in plans, with the event spread over five days–four days of dropoffs at Love & Care Ministries offices and a one-day drive-through at Arrow Ford. People responded, even during a pandemic, just like they always do. 

Volunteers at 2020 Mission: Thanksgiving (Photo courtesy Arrow Ford)

And, Hewitt hopes that continues this year. He said in a promotional letter that anyone donating $500 or more will be cited as a Wall of Love Sponsor. But all gifts–goods or cash–are needed and appreciated.

“Always remember that any donation, large or small, becomes a great blessing to those we service,” Hewitt wrote. 

Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene

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