Local church provides Thanksgiving baskets to the community

Local church provides Thanksgiving baskets to the community

Local church provides Thanksgiving baskets to the community

Last year, the community-based meals delivery organization prepared and coordinated the delivery of approximately 1,025 Thanksgiving dinners to those who were unable to cook for themselves or leave their homes for the annual feast. Pastor Samuel Merriweather says today marks 25 years that he has spearheaded this effort.

For whatever reason people come down, Engelkamp said it's wonderful to be able to give back to the community. "I thought it was a good opportunity to teach them a little bit about serving other people - not pre-judging people - everyone's got a story".

Our Community Place serves meals to the public a few times each week. He was working on Thanksgiving but chose to make a quick pit stop at the church for a turkey meal.

"We're very excited to be a part of this church family", she said.

Damita Engel was helping Cairns with name tags and said her family joined First Presbyterian in 2013 for its outgoing and giving nature.

"We thought we would do something different this year". Everybody wants to do this. I don't see this going away.

Up to 120 people were expected for the meal, which started promptly at noon in the social room, with 30 to 40 volunteers serving. Transportation was provided for those that needed it; other meals were delivered to shut-ins.

"It was 105 years old when I graduated high school in 1982", Ransom said. "It all just kind of depends on the weather". This year, the shelter and resources at the center are what she is most thankful for. "We could be up at 350 or more".

Thirty minutes before the doors opened Thursday, the church kitchen buzzed with activity while in the hallway volunteers formed an assembly line heaping food into containers for delivery drivers. Numerous helpers have been volunteering on Thanksgiving for over a decade.

The day was equally important to members of both St. Joseph and Concordia Lutheran's youth groups who volunteered time from their Thanksgiving break to help.

By noon, the tables were full of people enjoying the meal, with another wave on the way. "So we're just grateful that we're able to do this".

In 1999, Carol Berridge and her two, daughters Cate and Caren, spent Thanksgiving dinner alone.

Organizer Gary Humphreys said they wouldn't know until the end of the meal, but they were planning to feed 900. "I think it's good to give back", said Grahame Pritchard from Cleveland Heights. "My only regret is that I don't have 50 more years to do this, but that's alright".

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