Each year, as Crosslines, Inc at the Upshur Parish House prepare to distribute Thanksgiving meal baskets to our neighbor families, I write a column to let people know of our needs. This is the column for 2016 and I place it here because our website parishhouse.org and our Facebook page link to this blog. Thank you.
Preparing For Thanksgiving
By Alicia Randolph Rapking
The year has flown by and once again we find ourselves at the Autumn of the year. I have always enjoyed Autumn, especially as a child growing up in North Carolina where summer and its humidity seem to last for a long time. Autumn brought bright sunny days amid the crisp fall temperatures and even though the leaves of the trees were dying, they were showing forth their true colors—reds, yellows, varying shades of gold and brown. The last of the summer flowers were still bright with blooms as they held out to the very end. The varying shades of orange in my grandpa’s pumpkin patch were beautiful. I always felt that the sites and sounds and smells of Autumn are unforgettable.
I didn’t pay much attention when I was a child, but as I grew older I realized that Autumn is a time of preparation. Every year at Crosslines and the Parish House I am aware of that preparation more and more.
And of course, Autumn means that Thanksgiving comes again.
The first Autumn that I worked at Crosslines and the Parish House, I thought a lot about what families would do if they did not have the means to gather their loved ones together on the special day that we call Thanksgiving. I was pleased to find a practice already in place to provide area families with the means to celebrate with family and friends around a table filled with the traditional turkey and all the trimmings including pumpkin pie. Since that time we have seen an increase each November—an increase of the families that need this opportunity and an increase in the outpouring of love and donations that help us to offer this extra food.
Without the generosity of this community, the preparations of Autumn and the anticipation of Thanksgiving would not happen. I am fortunate to work in a community where so many people care that their neighbors around them have the same opportunity for meaningful Thanksgiving celebrations. I cannot say “thank you” enough. I cannot express how grateful I am that we can all work together to make this happen.
So, we are at that time of preparation again. Last year we gave out just over 700 meal baskets. If the trend continues as it has for the last several years we will see an increase this year. I will admit it. I am concerned that we will have enough, but I am not worried. I am not worried because in the past six years that I have been director at Crosslines/Parish House, I have never known a time when we had to close the doors because we didn’t have enough. I am not worried because I know that I live in the most generous community of all—a place where no one wants to see others do without.
So I am asking for help. Here is what we need and don’t need. We DO NOT need turkeys, potatoes, or cranberry sauce. We do need about 1000 cans of green beans, 700 boxes of stuffing, and 700 cans of pumpkin or fruit pie filling. Optional items that we give out can include gravy, chicken broth, or canned milk for the pumpkin pies. We can also use donations of cash to help defray the cost of the turkeys. And, we can use the ever popular plastic grocery bags—about 5000 of them. So, in the next few weeks, if you are out and about shopping, please pick up some extra canned goods that will help make Thanksgiving dinner for a needy family. We begin our Thanksgiving meal distribution on November 7th.
When I think of my blessings this year, I am including all of you that make it easy to offer something good to our neighbor families. Your kindness and generosity are expressions of God’s love.
To God alone be Glory!