GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been a tough year for those experiencing homelessness in West Michigan, and Mel Trotter Ministries has stepped up, hoping to fill that gap with a Thanksgiving feast.

The mission fed about 500 people this Thanksgiving. For one woman there, Mel Trotter has given her much more than a warm meal.

“I came here with nothing and now I have a job. I have my family back in my life,” said Bernadette Collins.

Collins knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle.

“I’ve been homeless off and on,” Collins said.

Collins has been sober for a year-and-a-half and has leaned on Mel Trotter to help her get back on her feet.

“I haven’t worked in a long time, so that was a fear that I had, but I had so much support and everything and they just told me I could do it and I really got a good job. I love my job, so I’m doing good right now,” Collins said.

Beth Fisher, the Vice President of Communication at Mel Trotter Ministries, says she wanted to make sure no one was by themselves this holiday.

“For us, it wasn’t an option at all to say, you know what, you’re going to be alone and you’re not going to have a special meal, (or) you’re going to feel sad on this day. That wasn’t it,” Collins said. “We have much to be grateful for and so we just figured out a way, as overused as it is, to pivot once again and say we’ll figure this out safely, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Collins is glad that she has somewhere to turn during tough times.

“I’m just really blessed and I’m thankful,” Collins said.