Dominique Moses had a smile on her face while she and her two daughters, Journey Moses, 8, and Marielle Jordan, 14, walked by the different booths at Sunday's World Day of the Poor dinner.
The third annual event was hosted by St. Peter Catholic Church at the church's Selinger Center. Among the offerings at the booths were free books, clothes, CDs, snacks and various personal items. One booth offered blood pressure checks. At another, Helias Catholic High School students handed out first aid kits.
"I decided to come because I need positive opportunities to know the community," Dominique Moses said. "And I got to ride a trolley. It was fun!"
She came to Jefferson City from St. Louis almost 15 years ago and said the community has been helpful to her since. She doesn't have the equipment to cook at home, she said.
"There's a lot of resources for single mothers; places I can safely go to. So I love the opportunity to be safe and have a good time — and to eat," she said.
Sunday's dinner featured pulled pork sandwiches, drinks, desserts and various side dishes provided by St. Peter parishioners. Attendees also were treated to prizes that were raffled, including gift cards to local businesses.
Event co-chairwoman Betty Schrimpf said the event came about when Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in 2017. At a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica earlier in the day, Francis said the poor remind us of how we should live the Gospel: "like beggars reaching out to God."
Schrimpf said the event had about 125 attendees in 2017, and they expected about 200 Sunday. The meat was provided by St. Vincent De Paul Society and was prepared by the Knights of Columbus.
Schrimpf's fellow co-chairwoman, Diane Struemph, said she helps with various events for the needy "because there's a real need in our community for it. Especially with the tornado, there's even more of a need."
The Trolley Co. donated its services by shuttling people to the event from The Salvation Army.
Blake and Jessica Mackey are staying at the Salvation Army, but came to St. Peter for the Sunday dinner.
"We've hit some hard times and it's always nice when the community reaches out to help those in similar situations," Jessica Mackey said.