Selma charities: ‘Let no one go unfed on Thanksgiving’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 27, 2003

A colossal effort is made by many communities at Thanksgiving and Christmas to make sure that most families can have a special meal on that day.

For the citizens of the richest nation in the history of the world to do less would be shameful.

Selma is no exception. Reports have been received of countless efforts &045; large and small &045; by churches, organizations of various kinds and by individuals to get a traditional Thanksgiving meal to those least able to provide one for themselves.

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There are at least three distribution methods in evidence &045; distribution of food boxes in advance, serving meals at a site and taking meals to the homebound.

Capt. Todd Brewer, whose office is located at 2104 Franklin, is commanding officer for the Salvation Army in seven counties, including Dallas. He said that staff and 100 volunteers packed 500 boxes of food for emergency situations and also for those who had applied during the last week of October. These have already been delivered, he said, 95 percent to Selma and Dallas County residents.

Boxes contained a number of items, such as green beans, corn, canned goods, fruit, soup, powdered milk – each with the requisite items for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

A while back the Salvation Army here experimented with onsite feeding, he said, but decided that a most important aspect of Thanksgiving is for families to be together – both those assisting and those receiving – and that feedback on the revised approach had been very positive.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, located at 309 Washington St., is preparing approximately 200 meals to be delivered on Thanksgiving Day around 11 a.m. According to Paul Robitaille of the Knights of Columbus who are coordinating the event for the parish, a traditional Thanksgiving meal consisting of turkey and dressing and all the trimmings will be prepared for delivery Thursday morning and volunteer drivers will be home by noon. The kitchen will be cleared and cleaned at 10:30 a.m., he said.

Robitaille said that recipients are in three categories – Meals-On-Wheels homebound who would otherwise not receive a hot meal on Thanksgiving, a number of non-members and a few members of the parish.

To cook and deliver the meals Robitaille has assembled a group numbering 35-50. Among the helpers are the current Edmundite Mission Corps volunteers in residence who are cooking six of the turkeys.

Robitaille also noted that the Edmundite’s Don Bosco Nutrition Center, a program of the Edmundite Missions, will be open on Thanksgiving as it is every day of the year.

It serves approximately 100 people daily.

Our Lady Queen of Peace has been delivering Thanksgiving meals for about 20 years, according to Robitaille.

Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 1900 Marie Foster St., is also delivering meals this year, as it has for the past several years.

According to the Rev. Steven Washington, pastor, the awareness of the need to provide Thanksgiving Day meals grew in the church. &uot;We prayed,&uot; he said, &uot;and God provided&uot; – many volunteers, financial assistance as needed. He said that 60-75, including a few members of the church, will

have meals delivered. About 15 volunteers assisted in the project, and the cooking was done at the church. For Washington the greatest blessing is to those who prepared the meals and will deliver them Thanksgiving Day.

He sees Thanksgiving Day as a day of doing good for others, and is glad that he and his church can be involved.

Ebenezer Baptist Church, located at 1548 LeGrande St., fed a total of 150, according to Beverly Washington, one of the volunteers, the day before Thanksgiving.

Approximately 70 came to the church to have their meal, while 80 meals were delivered to the homebound. Included among the volunteers were six AmeriCorps workers, 20 from the church’s Young Women’s Auxiliary and about 10 other adults in the church.

In addition, she said, bags of fruit – grapes, oranges, apples and bananas – were provided to each recipient.

On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers will take food to the city’s three nursing homes and an assisted-living facility. Describing her feelings about the event at the end of the day, she could only say: &uot;A blessing. . . a blessing. . . awesome!&uot;