No doubt you’ve had to wrestle with a sizeable shopping list at some point over the past few days getting ready for Thanksgiving. Before you complain, consider just a sample of what Cathy Strange is managing:
- 70 whole turkeys
- 65 turkey breasts
- 40 gallons of milk
- 325 cups of oatmeal for sweet potatoe souffle
- around 200 biscuits for dressing
- 30 bricks of butter
- 438 cups of sweet potatoes.
For nine years a small army of First Baptist Church in Duluth members have spent hours in the days leading up to Thanksgiving preparing fully-cooked meals that are then delivered to area families in its annual Feed The Need outreach.
“The theme is to serve families in the Duluth area, providing a meal on Thanksgiving morning without making them feel they need to come out of their homes and stand in a food line,” explains Strange.
Each family receives a turkey, sweet potato souffle, cornbread dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, and dessert. “We want the project to be an experience for the church body,” adds Strange. “The sweet potatoes, dressing, and desserts are homemade. This allows more people to be involved.”
Preparation actually begins back in the summer, she says. “We take up an offering during VBS for funds that go directly to the project. The kids become very involved in raising the money and come back to be a part of it this week. They help prepare the meals and see where the money goes.”
Food prep began on Sunday, with volunteers continuing through Wednesday. Families also sign up for 15-minute increments Thursday morning to deliver the meals. Names of recipients are gathered through the church’s food pantry and other contact points such as local elementary schools. Forms are also available for families to complete beginning in October.
When volunteers arrive at the church for delivery, they are prayed over and provided maps to the location as well as relevant information such as codes to enter at security gates.
“One of the best things about this project is the blessings we as a church body get by coming together,” says Strange. “Multo-generational, multi-cultural groups come together to serve our community. The families have great attitudes and see we care to bring God’s love to their doorstep.”