ABILENE, Texas -

In 1999, Arrow Dealerships, KTXS Television and KEAN radio met with Pastor Mark Hewitt of Love and Care Ministries about how they could help the homeless and underprivileged in Abilene. That's how Mission Thanksgiving was born and it gets bigger and bigger every year.

For 13 years, Mission Thanksgiving has provided basic necessities - clothes, food, blankets and hygiene products - to the homeless and poor in Abilene and surrounding areas.

Last year's drive gathered enough donations to fill 14 semi-trailers and it raised more than $140,000.

In spite of the huge response, all those donations were distributed in just 11 months, providing the need here is great.

There are about 400 homeless people in Abilene and about 2,000 homeless transients.

Children make up about 20 percent of those numbers.

Love and Care Ministries goes out into the streets of Abilene every day and travels to areas where homeless people camp.

Even the smallest donation can help make a difference in these people's lives.

Last year, over 350,000 meals were provided for people in need.

Love and Care Ministries can create one sack lunch for just 36 cents and $10 is enough to feed 27 people.

A representative from Love and Care Ministries said Mission Thanksgiving will still go on despite potential inclement weather.

Mission Thanksgiving is Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Arrow Ford on S. 1st St. in Abilene and also at 906 N. 3rd St. in Merkel.

Love and Care Ministries is in desperate need of warm clothes for all ages, blankets, gloves, clean socks and underwear, as well as shoes for all ages.

You can also make cash donations and bring any nonperishable food items.