The Gathering Place has been the place for a solid meal for Lincoln's hungry for almost 30 years.
It was established back in 1982 by Ruth Thone, the wife of former Nebraska Governor, Charles Thone.
Back in the 90's, Michael Ryan joined his church group in volunteering at The Gathering Place.
What he found out is that feeding the hungry also fed his soul. That's why he left the nursing home business six years ago to feed his mind, spirit and soul on a full-time basis.
On any given night, Monday thru Friday, Michael opens the door for a hundred hungry people. And there isn't a day that goes by that he isn't moved emotionally, "It's tough for me to describe or put into words without beginning to cry. It's a very emotional thing, a very personal for me...it's a tremendous gift that God's allowed me to work here."
And many others get the opportunity to serve as well. Karen Rooney is a volunteer from Southwood Lutheran Church, "It's the best thing. To know that we're helping other people and it's like a family here."
Vernon Wessel is a part of that family. He's benefited from the generosity for six years and he says The Gathering Place is important, "There's a lot of people that are out there on the streets that really just cannot afford to have a meal on their own."
Michael says volunteering here can greatly benefit people who are having troubles at home and work, "An hour and a half at The Gathering Place allows you to get a different perspective on those issues and how maybe you can kick those down a notch as to you weren't the one standing in line waiting for that food cause you had no food at home."
Michael says moving moments are the norm at The Gathering Place, "Every day when I close up and head home there's something that's happened that day that I'm grateful for and blessed that God allowed me to be here."
Michael says that in the past 4 years, The Gathering Place has given away more than 100,000 free meals. Now that is a whole lot to give thanks for.
The Gathering Place is located at 1448 E Street and the phone number is (402) 476-7398.