The hands at Helping Hands were busy as volunteers served Thanksgiving lunch to 500 people in need of a meal for the holidays. Lunch included turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, dressing, mixed vegetables and dessert.
The occasion brought hope to David and his nephew Shaun who were first time visitors to Helping Hands. The holiday lunch was their first holiday meal after losing their landscaping business, income and car over the summer.
“When we walked in today, we were amazed at how many people who are in the same position as we are,” says David.[singlepic id=832 w=250 h=187.5 float=right]
“We had no food and my neighbor told us about this place. Thank You. We never thought we would be in this position. We truly would not be here if we didn’t have this option.”
For many Helping Hands clients, lunch was more than just another meal. This was their opportunity to spend the holidays with people they called family.
“We are very thankful for this place,” says Rhonda, Jodi and Dino all who are not related but have formed close relationships since coming to Helping Hands over the years. “This is our family right here,” says Dino.
“I think that Thanksgiving lunch is a great thing that they’re doing,” says Angel. “It give people a hot meal to eat on cold days.”
“I come because I like this place, and I like the people. There are a lot of good reasons for coming to here. Not just the food, it’s the people. There are good people who are here to help,” she adds.
“It gives you a chance to stretch your food at home,” says Dennis, a regular to Helping Hands. “When you run out of food at home, you can come here to get a meal.”
“The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” ~ John F. Kennedy
The war on hunger is still a growing battle with little signs of an end. In Toledo, more than 85,000 people – that’s nearly 1 in 5 Lucas County residents – face hunger, according to The Toledo Blade.
The need for food does not end during the holiday season. Helping Hands of St. Louis has experienced a significant increase in food requests in recent months compared to 2013. Director Paul Cook attributes the increases to the average 30 percent drop in food stamp benefits and more families moving into the East Toledo area. The decrease in benefits leave families with limited options for meals year-round.
Every year, Help Hands of St. Louis and other organizations in Lucas County pitch in to provide meals to those in need during the holiday season. Below is a list of dates and locations for Thanksgiving meals this year:
Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth Street, Toledo, 419-691-0613. Thanksgiving Lunch on Tuesday, November 25, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 28.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Toledo (Church Hall, corner of Cherry and Summit Sts.) Thanksgiving Luncheon on Thursday, November 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Children’s Corner, health care and homeless-related services available at 10:30 a.m. Bus/van service from MLK Kitchen for the Poor at 10 a.m. (650 Vance St.); Family House at 10:15 a.m. (669 Indiana); Helping Hands of St. Louis at 10:30 a.m. (443 Sixth Street); and the Thomas M. Wernert Center at 10:35 a.m. (208 W Woodruff). Sponsored by City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods.
M.L.K. Center – Kitchen for the Poor, 650 Vance St., Toledo, 419-241-2596. Lunch on Wednesday, November 26, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, November 28.
St. Paul’s Community Center, 230 13th St., Toledo, 419-255-5520. Wednesday, November 26, Lunch from Noon – 1:30 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Augsburg Lutheran Church, 1342 West Sylvania Ave., Toledo. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day. Delivery or Pick up only. To place an order, call Cindy at 419-704-3114 by November 22. Meals delivered after 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Christ the King Church, 4100 Harvest Lane at Monroe St., Toledo, 419-475-4348.
Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Pilgrim Church, 1375 Sylvania Ave., Toledo, 419-478-6012. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
St. Joan of Arc Church, 5856 Heatherdowns Blvd, Toledo, 419-866-6181. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the school gym.
Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission, 1917 Jefferson Ave., Toledo, 419-241-6579. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Breakfast 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Saturday, November 29, Thanksgiving Dinner – Chapel at 5:00 p.m. followed by dinner.
Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission Outreach Center, 670 Phillips Avenue, Toledo, 419-478-1005. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, Dinner 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cherry Street Mission, 1919 Madison Ave, Toledo, 419-242-5141. Thanksgiving Lunch will be served on Sunday, November 30, from Noon – 1 p.m at 1919 Madison. (Note: Thanksgiving Day dinner for Mission residents is served off-site.)