Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- On this Thanksgiving, an annual tradition is reborn in New Orleans. This year marks the first time since Hurricane Katrina that the New Orleans Mission is serving a Thanksgiving meal, and the need is as strong as ever.

At the Mission, as the meal is served, the guests are thankful.

'I've got a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in at night and a great meal,' said Dominick Richard, a Mission guest

After financial issues nearly forced the Mission to close over the summer, they hired a new director, who brought back the Thanksgiving Day meal.

'I remember the day I walked in and there was no money in the bank and a lot of bills,' said David Bottner, executive director of the New Orleans Mission. 'We really felt like it was an opportunity for us to really say 'Thank You' to our guests, because if not for them, the Mission wouldn't exist. But it's an opportunity, too, to express love and to be a family.'

Timothy Jones decided to be part of that family today, after deciding to volunteer at the Mission a month ago.

'It gets heart-wrenching sometimes to see,' he said, 'but I'm thankful that I can help somebody. I'm here to help.'

'We're also thankful for the staff at the kitchen that's been pouring out hours, since like (3 a.m.), cooking up all the turkeys,' said Luis Rodriguez of the N.O. Mission Program Coordinator.

It's volunteers that are helping make the Thanksgiving meal -- and everything else the Mission does -- a reality for the 250 people they help every day.

'Thank God for the volunteers that came out,' Richard said. 'It's a very humbling experience, but they do help you out to get you back on your feet.' For more information on how you can help, click here

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