- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley invited a group from a Montgomery homeless shelter for a post-Thanksgiving meal Friday on the grounds of a state-owned estate.

Bentley served turkey and trimmings and chatted about the upcoming Iron Bowl football game with residents of Friendship Mission.

“Everybody has worth. Everybody goes through difficult times and when they go through difficult times we need to try to help them,” Bentley said.

The Friendship Mission in Montgomery houses about 150 people at its shelters for the homeless and also runs a daily soup kitchen.

The governor, who was divorced this year, also spent part of Thanksgiving day serving a meal at the homeless shelter.

“This is a big step up,” said Avery Berry, “from eating every day at the Salvation Army to eating at the governor’s mansion.”

Ronald Smith, 59, said he came to the shelter nine years ago as a drug addict. Today, he works as the night manager in the men’s shelter, a job that he says allows him to witness miracles every day.

Smith, who chatted with the governor about farming and their mutual hatred of boiled okra, praised Bentley for opening the estate grounds to shelter residents.

“This is a great thing he has done,” Smith said “I never found a dignitary so down-to-earth.”

The lunch was held on the grounds of the Wynfield Estate, a state-owned home in Montgomery that is used for government functions and is an occasional residence for Bentley.

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