Thirty-three donated turkeys sit waiting to be carved, plated and served for free to those in need at First Baptist Church in Pittston.
Anyone who is alone for the holiday or unable to provide a meal for themselves can come to the church for a hot, full meal, thanks to the generosity of a community of donors and volunteers.
“We love our community,” said church administrator Gail Nossavage. “We’re so blessed we are able to do this.”
Nossavage and volunteers from the church spent the weeks leading up to the holiday preparing for the 11th annual free community Thanksgiving dinner, which will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a blessing,” Nossavage said.
Local Thanksgiving dinners and food collections have kicked off a season of giving in Greater Pittston.
The Care and Concern Ministries of St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston has begun collecting food for its annual Christmas giveaway, and other agencies have started food collections and distributions for those in need.
Corpus Christi Parish in West Pittston has been busy collecting for its annual holiday food drive. The church expects to distribute food to more than 100 families in time for Thanksgiving, with donations being accepted through this weekend.
The Dupont Lions Club has its monthly food distributions all year long for residents of Dupont and Suscon who are in need, and a food pantry is open throughout the year on the first and third Thursday of each month at Bethel United Methodist Church in Avoca.
Salvation Army bell ringers will soon be spotted on corners and storefronts, raising money for those in need. According to the Salvation Army of West Pittston, those who want to help but do not have cash or change can now donate via their smartphones to any bell ringer by using Google Pay or Apple Pay.
For Lois Hanczyc, a volunteer at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Duryea, the needs of the people don’t change during the holiday season, but help is always appreciated at the church’s monthly food distributions.
“It’s pretty important,” she said.
Since the church started doing distributions two years ago through the CEO Weinberg Food Bank, its pool of regular clients has grown from 12 people to 48, with five or six more joining just this month, Hanczyc said.
“The word is getting out,” she said. “More and more people are putting their names in.”
Because the program uses food provided by CEO, Hanczyc said the best way to help the Duryea families would be to donate to CEO.
The church distributes food on the second Monday of every month, but Hanczyc, as a Duryea council member, has been preparing for a much larger scale distribution and dinner for the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The town will host a free Thanksgiving dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, in the Sacred Heart Church hall, and volunteers have already planned to deliver 47 meals to those who cannot make it to the hall. All of the food to be served was donated by local businesses, Hanczyc said.
As she prepared for the dinner at First Baptist Church, Nossavage looked forward to serving food to members of the community.
“I’ve worked this dinner since we’ve had it,” she said. “They are always so thankful.”