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New Freedom Farm hosts free Thanksgiving meal

(WDBJ)
Published: Nov. 28, 2019 at 6:39 PM EST
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While most people may spend Thanksgiving with their families, others may not have anyone to spend it with.

That's why Lois Fritz, founder of

, started the Thanksgiving lunch four years ago, and she said it has quickly grown.

"My very first year, I had twenty-eight people, the next year I had 64, last year I had 155 and this year is well over 216," said Fritz.

As the plates were filling up with food, for many, their hearts were filling up as well.

"If one person in the room that had no place to go might have taken his or her life today, they now know they have a place to go and can feel welcomed," said Fritz.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than a dozen veterans commit suicide every day.

For Army veteran Andrew Kintgen, this was his first Thanksgiving at the farm, and it was a special one.

"This is also the first Thanksgiving that I get to be with my family, my brother, my youngest brother and all my nieces and nephews showed up today so it will be our first Thanksgiving as a family in a really long time," said Kintgen.

While he says nothing beats spending the holidays with your family, the family he's made at the farm makes it even better.

"Everybody here is a stranger, nobody knows each other, except for the few and far between and now everyone has become a family of one, a family of your choosing," he says.

Fritz wants veterans to know they always have a place to go.

Fritz said, "If anyone is listening to this and they're struggling, know that there is help available and they're never alone because whatever their struggle is I am sure that one of us here have had that struggle and we're here for them."

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