Thanksgiving outreach needs money to buy meat

(Posted Nov. 7, 2014)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. While Madison County area families are busy making travel plans, checking the grocery ads for specials, and planning for their family’s annual Thanksgiving meal, volunteers for the HELP House are making plans to provide enough food to feed more than 1,000 individuals in one day. For this outreach, pre-registered clients select what they would like to eat on Thanksgiving Day.

HELP House Director Dee Heilman is asking individuals, businesses, churches and organizations to support the annual Thanksgiving meal outreach in a different way this year.

“Because of the significant increase in the number of individuals and families that we have served with food, clothing, emergency funding and prayer since this time last year, we know that the number of requests for Thanksgiving meals this year will be one of the largest ever,” said Heilman.

“In addition, the Mid Ohio Food Bank, our main source of frozen meat, has not had the quantity or variety of meat available for purchase that they usually have at this point in the year. This has led to a shortage of meat for our Thanksgiving outreach.”

Last year’s event provided a complete Thanksgiving meal to more than 300 families, a significant increase from the number of families served the previous year. During last year’s annual outreach, volunteers distributed more than 6,000 Thanksgiving food items to area families and individuals in need.

“For many years, we asked community members to donate food items for the Thanksgiving outreach, however this year we are hoping that donors will make monetary donations so that we can purchase a large quantity of turkeys, turkey breasts and hams from local retailers at a reduced cost,” said Heilman.

She added that traditional Thanksgiving food items will also be available for clients to add to their holiday meal. Area businesses, as well as youth and school groups, have stepped up to provide some meat and Thanksgiving food items for the outreach.

While the organization’s most critical need for the Thanksgiving outreach project is to collect money to purchase turkeys, turkey breasts, or hams, HELP House is also accepting frozen turkey breasts, turkeys, hams and canned goods. Heilman hopes that area churches, companies and organizations will consider donating money, food and/or volunteer time for the event.

Individuals can donate any amount of money or make a gift that will benefit a number of families. For example, a gift of $50 will provide at least five families with a Thanksgiving turkey, turkey breast or ham. Heilman shares her belief that as others assist with this annual outreach project and enjoy their own Thanksgiving traditions, they will know that others are having the same experience of thanks and gratitude.

Monetary contributions should be mailed to HELP House Community Outreach Center at122 E. Center St., London, OH 43140 by Nov. 17. Canned goods and non-perishable food items should be delivered to HELP House by Nov. 19. Donated hams, turkeys, turkey breasts and other refrigerated or frozen food items should also be delivered to the HELP House by Nov. 19.

Volunteers are needed Nov. 22 from 8 a.m. to noon (or any portion of that time slot) to manage food stations, restock food and a variety of other tasks and responsibilities to help with the annual outreach. Volunteers are also needed on Nov. 19 from 6-8 p.m. to set up the food stations and organize the food.

For more information, call (740) 852-1980 or send e-mail to HELPHouse@hotmail.com. Or contact Chandra Kelly, volunteer coordinator, at (614) 202-1741 or chandrakelly@columbus.rr.com.

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