Paige Smith knows what it’s like to be away from loved ones for Thanksgiving, so she invited the women of Abba House to become part of her family for the day.
Abba House is a long-term residential recovery program for women struggling with substance abuse or mental and emotional issues, offering healing and restoration for them and their families.
The 15-month program provides a safe place for the women to heal and begin to lead productive lives.
As a graduate of the program, Smith said her first Thanksgiving “clean and sober” was without her family, who lived out of state and couldn’t visit.
“I was one of those girls and I know the feeling of being there,” she said. “God laid it on my and my husband’s heart to serve the girls this year where they wouldn’t have to cook or clean or do anything.”
The holiday dinner also gave Smith, who now works with Abba House, a chance to offer an example of what “a healthy family unit” looks like.
She welcomed eight women in the program and three of their visiting children for dinner — in addition to herself, her husband and their child.
The dinner included three turkeys, sweet potatoes, casserole and food galore in Smith’s largest Thanksgiving meal.
Despite the busy day, Smith said she accomplished her goal of creating a meal about fellowship.
“It was all worth it for one of the girls to look at me and say, ‘You made it what Thanksgiving’s all about,’” she said. “It was very touching.”