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The Hidden Lesson of Christmas

The fast-paced Prentice family takes an unexpected turn one Thanksgiving. A call from God leads Lori to donate her family’s turkey dinner to a family that is homeless. Jay and Lori start bringing people who are homeless into their own home. Fast forward three years, and the Prentices have an unofficial homeless ministry in their small town. But what will the Prentices do when it snows and many people need the one room available?

In The Best Dinner I Never Ate, the Prentice Family stumbles into helping people climb out of crisis. This healing story addresses stereotypes surrounding people who are homeless, and grows empathy towards those experiencing tough times in a memorable, compassionate way. And in the end, the Prentices discover the hidden lesson of “Christmastime.”


TV, newspapers, online media and radio hosts have been featuring the uplifting story of The Best Dinner I Never Ate. Click below to see what makes this such an enticing story:

Fresno Bee: Oakhurst Woman Raises Awareness for Homeless (1/3/14)

Sierra Star article: True Story on Helping the Homeless is a Family Affair (12/23/13)

Sierra News article: The Other Best Dinner I Never Ate (12/12/13)

Sierra Star article: Hope for the Homeless (3/20/13)

Sierra News article: What Would You be Willing to Do? (3/19/13)

Madera County Board of Supervisors (video clip of Lori speaking) Select the video from April 23rd (2013), go to item 6 in the video.

The BridgeMaker (blog)

This is only a portion of those that shared our story and helped carry the torch.

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Author, Lori Prentice
Lori is the creator of Brain Romp—the active approach to learning that incorporates physical activity and games with learning to read. A wiggle worm herself, Lori homeschools their three kids, Melanie, Tim and Ginger, in a structured, yet look-for-an-opportunity-to-put-your-skills-to-good-use kind of way. Lori is proud of her ADHD and considers it a blessing. Without it, many projects would have been deemed too risky or would never have been started. Lori has always wanted to be an “otter” (that was her long-ago kid-speak for “author,”) and with The Best Dinner I Never Ate, she has her chance. Lori loves writing, and has an obnoxious streak (woops, can you tell I wrote my own description??).

I read with enthusiasm the article in the Fresno Bee that featured you and your family’s ministry to the homeless. As the Mayor of the city of Bakersfield, who launched Home First: Kern County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2008, I applaud your efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable in your midst with your unique and unconventional approach.

Home First is a 10-year action plan we created through the collaborative efforts of many sectors of our community to address the challenging issue of homelessness at its very core. It is my strong belief that every individual and family deserves safe, affordable housing.

I have purchased a copy of your book, The Best Dinner I Never Ate, and it is my plan to read it to as many young students in our community during my celebrity reader events in 2014.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavors to make a difference in the Oakhurst area.

With best regards,
Harvey L. Hall, Mayor
City of Bakersfield