Thanksgiving Blessing needs you
Want to help the Eagle River Thanksgiving Blessing provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for more than 300 local families in need?
You are needed. To help, contact your church (more than 12 local Christian churches have already pledged to help) or call the Love INC office at 726-5683.
Last year, our 2012 Thanksgiving Blessing project donated the entire Thanksgiving meal to more than 320 local families — more than a 1,000 Eagle River people — all from the donated food and man-hours of hundreds of volunteers. If that sounds overwhelming, here’s how your community did it.
First, thousands of local Christian families donated Thanksgiving foods to fill the baskets. In October, kids, teens and adults all dropped off cans and boxes of Thanksgiving food at their church to feed the hungry.
By this united mission, we collected tons of food to feed the hungry. For as our Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of Matthew, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink ... inasmuch as you did it to the least of My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matt. 25:35-40)
Second, many people put their Christian faith in action and did volunteer work for the event. What did they do?
Men worked outside when it was 3 degrees for hours carrying frozen turkeys. Teens and moms loaded up shopping carts of food for the needy families. Veterans and JBER folks carried groceries to the cars for mothers and others. Pastors and laymen prayed and counseled those who asked their assistance. Seniors in their seventies provided copies of the Gospel, helpful information and free children’s gifts to families — all this work was done to love our neighbor.
Third, the Christian spirit of respect and love for all people warmly poured out from our volunteer team. Our goal was to share the hope and love of God with our neighbors — many who are in difficult situations.
One neighbor in need was in his eighties and said, “With my health, this might be my last year.”
Another was a single woman with her arm wrapped in a cast and surgical hardware. Another was a mother with five children. One was an older Vietnam veteran.
So many people in tough times, and yes, some had made poor choices. We are not blind to human faults, and yet we are still ready to offer counsel when asked. We just remember to love the sinner and hate the sin. For we are all made in the image of God.
Last and so important, many people spent months planning and organizing the Thanksgiving Blessing — all with the strong spirit of serving their neighbors. The tireless preparation work of the 2012 team of volunteers from our local Christian churches was essential for this successful event.
Let’s do it again this Thanksgiving holiday season of 2013. Please join us and help accomplish the mission.
Here are the details: Thanksgiving Blessing will be held at Joy Lutheran Church, 10111 E. Eagle River Loop Road on Monday, Nov. 25 from 3 to 8 p.m.
Our volunteer times at Joy Lutheran are the afternoons of Sunday, Nov. 24 or Monday, Nov. 25. We need more volunteers on Monday’s earlier shifts (Sunday is filled), so plan to serve one day to help our community’s neighbors in need. There are a limited number of volunteers needed, so please reserve your slot online at http://vols.pt/tj4fBP.
Also, we are looking for individual donations of yams. You can deliver yams to Until That Day Church on Eagle View Drive. You can also mail financial donations to Love INC of Eagle River, P.O. Box 770833, Eagle River, AK 99577 memo: Thanksgiving Blessing.
For more information, contact Love INC’s office at 250-1735.
Kevin Dougherty is president of Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) and a member of St. John Orthodox Christian Church.