Three churches hold Thanksgiving food donation drivePublished 9:01am Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Only two weeks ago, Jill Turner encountered a situation that would cast a shadow over any family’s Thanksgiving: the destruction of her home.
During the massive windstorm that hit the region on Nov. 17, a dislodged tree fell into her home, located at Garver Lake. While the Edwardsburg resident and her young daughter have since found a place to stay, they still faced the prospects of spending Thursday without a proper Thanksgiving feast.
Fortunately, three different Edwardsburg churches joined together on Monday to provide local residents like Turner with food to make their Thanksgiving celebration a little more special this year. Held at Our Lady of the Lake Parish Community in Edwardsburg, volunteers from the three churches and from around the greater community helped hand out bags of donated food from the church’s massive food pantry.
Nearly 300 families received chickens, turkeys, potatoes and other donated food items throughout the afternoon. Each family participating in the drive received two grocery bags filled with the aforementioned items, with a grand total of 550 bags estimated to have been distributed by the end of the day.
For residents like Turner, Lady of the Lake’s pantry has served a tremendous role in solving a basic need, especially during such a trying time.
“This place is wonderful,” she said. “I came her last week as well, and that’s when someone handed me a flyer about today.”
The pantry, officially known as the Edwardsburg Emergency Fund, is run by Our Lady, a catholic church, the Presbyterian Church of Edwardsburg and Hope United Methodist Church. The heads of all three churches were on hand Monday, helping to fill and distribute bags along with the other volunteers on hand.
“This is a wonderful thing,” said Rev. Jeffery Reese with Hope United. “Everyone here receives a gift. The volunteers receive the gift of giving, and the families receive a Thanksgiving meal.”
In addition to handing out bags of food, volunteers also provided free hot chocolate and donuts to hungry visitors. The staff also laid out a table of Christmas ornaments, that visitors were free to pick from to spruce up their homes for the upcoming holiday season.
The Edwardsburg food pantry has given out food the week of Thanksgiving since its inception 25 years ago. The November distribution is one of two major donation drives the pantry does during the holiday season. The other takes place a few weeks before Christmas. This year the church will be holding the drive on Dec. 16.
“We have a huge Christmas tree set up, with toys and clothes on hand as well,” Reese said. “It’s like a giant Walmart, it’s wonderful.”