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Churches Help With Making Dinner Congregations Work To Ensure That Needy Families Have The Food Supplies To Celebrate The Thanksgiving Holiday Right

Not everyone can afford a turkey dinner with all the fixings.

Congregations on the South Hill are as aware as anyone of the need, and they are doing what they can to help out this holiday.

At Manito Presbyterian Church at 29th and Latawah, the congregation was putting together 75 food baskets for the needy.

“There are an awful lot of families out there who won’t have the same type of Thanksgiving dinner you or I would have,” said Linda Heiser, who is organizing the baskets.

Charitable giving is one of the ways church people in Spokane say thanks.

“It just feels really good to be able to give people an opportunity to have decent Thanksgiving meal when you know you are having one,” said Heiser, who lives on the South Hill.

“Spokane residents really do reach out. It’s a very needy town and a very giving town.”

Heiser went to several non-profit agencies to get names of families who need the help, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center, the Liberty Park Child Development Center and the Spokane Neighborhood Action Program.

Church members are individually donating to the baskets, and Heiser got the Super 1 Foods at Manito Center to provide turkeys, potatoes and some other groceries. The church itself is adding money to the effort buy some of the groceries.

Each family will get a big box of food. Along with the turkey and potatoes, the boxes will include bread, stuffing mix, yams, vegetables, candy, cake mix, flour, sugar, powdered milk, candy and fruit.

Heiser said there should be enough food to last for a several days.

Single mothers and their children may be among the biggest beneficiaries.

Shanti Anderson, a teacher at the Liberty Park child center, said many of the families at the center are headed by single moms.

“They are people who want better for themselves and their children,” she said.

“All of the parents of the families we work with are trying to get on their feet,” she said. “They just need a little bit of help getting there.”

The Manito congregation isn’t alone in its efforts to help out the needy.

Other South Side churches are gathering food or putting on free meals.

First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar, conducted a food drive last weekend and was planning to donate about 600 pounds of food to the Spokane Food Bank.

“We are trying to make people aware of the conditions in Spokane, the needs in Spokane,” said Patrick Copeland-Malone, outreach director for the church.

First Presbyterian is also planning to sponsor a party and give gifts to families served by the King center.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 314 S. Spruce, gathered food for the Salvation Army, a holiday gesture the congregation has been doing for the past seven years.

Money from church funds, individual donations and a contribution from the Lutheran Brotherhood are being tapped for the food effort.

The church will gather donations again for Christmas, said Vi Jewell, chair of the church’s social concerns committee.

“It’s a project we feel is very worthwhile,” she said.

The congregation at St. John’s Cathedral was collecting some 300 turkeys and all of the trimmings for the Food Bank in the East Central neighborhood. All of the food was coming from individual donations.

The Rev. Mart Craft, the cathedral administrator, said the Thanksgiving drive is one of numerous collections at the church each year. He said the next drive will be near the start of Lent, when Food Bank stocks start becoming depleted.

Last week’s storm slowed down some of the church relief efforts. For example, St. John’s canceled last Sunday’s dinner for the elderly.

Food Bank officials said they are grateful for the church help.

“It takes everybody to get the job done,” said Ann Price of the Spokane Food Bank.

“The church giving is pretty important this time of year.”

The Food Bank’s goal was to hand out 3,000 turkeys through its outlets and other charities for today’s celebration.

Supermarkets are one sources of the food.

Jeff Warren, manager of Super 1 Foods, said the store expected to donate 700 free turkeys for Thanksgiving charity drives.

At 80 cents a pound, that’s $560 worth of turkeys alone and doesn’t count the other types of food the store gives out for Thanksgiving.

“We get inundated with requests for donations,” Warren said.

Other churches on the South Side hosted community dinners.

Central United Methodist Church, 518 W. Third, hosts a weekly community dinner as part of its outreach ministry.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 2120 E. First, sponsored a Thanksgiving week lunch at the church last Sunday and expected about 100 people to attend. The church also is planning a Christmas dinner on Dec. 22.

“It’s kind of a Band-Aid thing, but every little thing helps,” said Virginia Flatter, the church secretary.

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