Homeless man posts ad, wants a family for Thanksgiving

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NORFOLK, Va. — Neal Shytles doesn’t have much to his name.

“This is bed 13,” he says, pointing out a bottom bunk at the Union Mission Ministries men’s shelter. “This is where I lived for a year.”

UPDATE: Neal's wish will come true!

Neal is homeless and has been staying at the shelter in Norfolk for a year and a half now.

What he lacks in possessions, Neal makes up for with heart.

“You know I’m grateful for even being here,” he says.

It’s a heart that is hurting. He’s surrounded by hundreds of people every day, but still Neal feels alone.

“I am lonely like 365 days a year but Christmas and Thanksgiving are two of the worst days, and I really miss having some kind of family atmosphere around me,” Neal says.

Man wants to be with a Family for Thanksgiving- Ad

Last week, he reached out to NewsChannel 3. He posted a wanted ad on our Facebook page, asking for a family to take him in for Thanksgiving.

“It would mean the world to me if somebody took me in,” he says. “Just for that one day, for a couple hours.”

Neal grew up in Hampton Roads, graduating from Princess Anne High School in 1980, but says he has no family left nearby.

“It hurts me to be alone, no family or nobody around,” Neal says.

It’s a position Neal says he never thought he would be in. After 15 years of driving a taxi, Neal lost his job and the bills piled up.

“Everything that I’d saved up I started dishing out to people that were taking me in and everything was gone,” he says. “When I was dropped off at the front door here, I was one of these people that never thought I would be here.”

He now rents a room at the shelter, using money he collects from Social Security.

Lining up for dinner, Neal is thankful for every meal and handout he gets.

But what he wants most is something money can’t buy.

“It would mean so much, because you know like I said, I’m lonely and it`s just forming that relationship with somebody would be so important to me,” he said. “It would mean so much and I would really cherish it.”

Read more here.


  • Christie Corley

    I would be honored to have Neal join my family in PA for Thanksgiving dinner & Christmas dinner for that matter!! There’s nothing fancy… but plenty!! And lots of love, laughter and joy to go around!! I would even make the trip, back and forth, myself to make sure he has a home and family to go to!! God bless you Neal!! I hope you find a family and please, contact me if you don’t!! :)

  • Jocelyn

    This is such a sweet and sad story, he is welcome to spend thanksgiving with my family in boston. No one should have to be alone ever not just around the holidays. Anyone should be lucky to have this sweet man spend his holiday with them.

  • Jessica

    If you’re reading this, Neal, just know you are loved and thought of. I hope you find your family for Thanksgiving and thank you for inspiring me to invite others who might not have a family for the holidays.

  • Sara

    How would I contact him? I would be willing to drive to Va from WV!!!! Can anyone give me any info on how to contact this person??!!!! PLEASE!!

    • Erin

      Looks like this is the shelter he’s staying at. I’m sure you can reach out to them and they can get in touch with him.
      The Union Mission Ministries
      5100 East Virginia Beach Blvd.
      Norfolk, VA 23502
      (757) 627-8686

      Administrative Offices
      (757) 427-1500

  • Amber P

    Your more than welcome anytime here in Alabama! Bless you sir and know you are in our hearts and thoughts! You are loved!

  • Neil

    it must really must be heart wrenching just to know you don’t have a family, I work at a hospital I see that all the time, sick patients are in the rooms and nobody comes to visit.. its nice to be comfort by a strange family for the holidays, but theres no family like your own, so just be thankful everyday that you have loved ones to go home to..because of stories like this. and money sure as heck can’t by happiness!!

  • josh vought

    Welcome out here in North east pa to enjoy a thanksgiving dinner hell ill even buy you a bus ticket to get here and back

  • stacci

    Did this man find a family ? I am in michigan we can find a way to get him here he can come and enjoy the holidays with us !!!! We are a large family and believe the more the merrier ?

  • Chad hessey

    Neal, I will get ahold of the shelter tomorrow and ensure that you have a welcoming home to spend the holiday with. I live in Gloucester ( so about an hour drive ) I will come pick you up and drive you back and ensure that you are welcomed and fed thoroughly. If you have already found a family, I’m so very happy that you get to share the holiday with a family to show you that people care. I will call tomorrow and I hope you can see this.

  • why my name

    Thats sweet. And a year and a half in a homeless shelter is even better. At least they dont kick you out on the streets after 6 months like the one in Topeka, Kansas does. And it really doesnt help that the worker they give you to work with is raciest.

  • jasmine tobias

    My family would read this story and cry for how heartfelt it is. I was born in Norfolk, and i have family down there. I am from lititz, PA but hearing this story makes me want to reach out and take him home. My family would absolutely take him in for thanksgiving.

  • Teagan

    I’m so glad that he found a family to spend Thanksgiving with. My boyfriend & I don’t have much, but I’d be honored to have him come and spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. Hell, I’d even drive from Central Pennsylvania down to Norfolk to pick him up if need be! God Bless the wonderful family who answered his prayer. <3

  • Hope Lewis

    Being that I just lost my husband and have family out west, so its just the kids and I. Know the lonely feeling and no one should feel that. My home is open for you to share for the holidays. Please email lewisnuthouse3@aol.com will travel if you need..

  • karen

    i know exactly how he feels.i prey he finds a good family to share what they have to offer to each other not only for thanksgiving but also other days as well.

  • Michelle

    If you would like to come to Bethlehem PA you can have holidays with us and we’ll even have a place for you to sleep and we’ll be able to get you some work. Email me at michellelascala@yahoo.com if you would like my help. <3 to you and god bless :)

  • Micheai a Peterson jr

    Yeah I have a good heart there’s too many homeless in Pennsylvania we need to start taking care of them our government and our mayor needs to do a better job of taking care of them as they are treating him like trash we need to help more and show them that we care

  • Haley Jatho

    I would like to invite Neal to my home for Thanksgiving. Every one deserves to be part of a family on Thanksgiving. I would be honored to have you as a part of mine.

  • Lesley

    Neil, you have God’s family surrounding you with love and support. You have family in Chesapeake, Va. We would be honored to host you for Thanksgiving. We don’t have anything too fancy, for us just being with our loved ones means more. Please email me if you are interested. Surfchica24@yahoo.com
    We are not far from Norfolk. :)
    In Christ, Lesley

  • Nadine Cline

    He is welcome in the state of New York to share our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I wish we were closer. We will be praying that someone close by will be there to share the holiday with him. I pray that he realizes how many people have opened their hearts to him across the miles.

  • Tabitha

    I see so many people commenting on here and saying that they would spend Thanksgiving with him, which is sweet, but obviously one person can’t spend the day with all of you – so I encourage you to take the compassion you’re feeling for this man right now, and use it to help others. There are thousands of homeless people in America who will be without a family on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Reach out to them. Help others. Be the change you wish to see in the world. You can make a difference. :)

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