Rochester family opens their home to strangers this Thanksgiving

(ABC 6 News) – While the holidays typically represent a joyful time with family and friends, for others, it can be one of the loneliest times of the year. That’s why one Rochester mother is making sure no one spends this Thanksgiving alone.

For some, the holidays are all about tradition.

In the Asterino’s house, however, this family has a tradition of their own.

“It’s our tradition to invite friends and strangers, frankly, people that don’t have anywhere to go,” said Shannon Asterino. “We love opening our home and you never know what Thanksgiving is going to be like.”

About 16 years ago, Asterino and her family decided the holidays should be spent with others, even if they have not met them yet.

“I was a single mom for nine years, so I really understand what it’s like to be alone and especially during the holidays. It can be a difficult time,” said Asterino.

A dining table filled with family, friends and strangers, just looking for a friendly face has become something Asterino’s children have grown to enjoy.

“When we first had this when I was three years old, the furthest I remember from it, I was like ‘why are there people coming, I thought this was a family activity’ but not for our family tradition,” said Asterino’s fifth grade daughter, Cecelia. “It’s unique, like we get to do something new and something fun.”

While some years the dinner table is bigger than others, that tradition of coming together, remains the same.

“It just is really heartwarming, we need to remember that most people are good, and this community is a wonderful community for families and single people. If you are lonely reach out, join a group, a community group, a church, if you don’t know anybody that’s where I’ve met most of my friends,” Asterino said. “This community is amazing, there’s people here who want to spend time with you too, even if you don’t know it yet.”

If you find yourself alone this Thanksgiving and are looking for somewhere to spend time with others over a warm meal, click here.