Free Thanksgiving meals bring communities together throughout NW Ohio
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Cherry Street Mission continued its 75-year-old tradition of hosting a Thanksgiving lunch for those in need in the community.
On the menu were Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Hundreds of hungry people piled in the doors from 12 pm-1 pm.
“All of the mission starts with a good warm meal and ends with community stability,” said Anne Ebbert, President, and CEO of Cherry Street Mission. “When we’re able to offer food, offer a warm space to be, offer activities, we believe that it really helps people in their own life feel worthy.”
This year’s meal was served restaurant style, where guests put in orders and food was delivered to them by volunteers. ”It is being served by literally 100 volunteers who are coming in and serving at restaurant style so instead of going through a line people will serve you and you will get to choose whatever you would like to have out of our menu that suits your particular pallet today,” said Ebbert.
“They’re just all extremely appreciative and I said thank you and I’ve told us happy Thanksgiving. They’ve asked us how we’re doing and told us to have a great day and it’s very humbling,” said fist-time volunteer Geri Dennis.
Meanwhile, over in Elmore, volunteers gathered at Woodmore High School where they put together a drive-thru Thanksgiving feast.
There were 300 hams, 300 turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and more available free.
“Loving on people and serving people this time of year, that’s really what I enjoy’” said Elmore Church of God Pastor Tom Willhardt. “Just being out here talking with the different cars that drive through and the individuals inside. That’s what I really like.”
Willhardt says their Thanksgiving meal is the only one given out for free in the Elmore area on Thanksgiving Day.
“We don’t forget about the people in the rural areas because they have needs just like the people in the big city. That’s why we do it out here,” says Willhardt.
The drive-thru feast was a hit with everyone who stopped by.
“I’m dropping food off for four families,” said drive-thru attendee Pam Imm. “Everything was wonderful. I used to come here when they were inside, and I got myself one with everybody else.”
“I think it’s beautiful. It’s great. It comes out real fast and it’s nice and easy. It’s super,” said another attendee Marty Matyas.
The people who went through the drive-thru say they are thankful for community support and, of course, a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
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