Parishes provide aid to needy during the holidays
Each year parishes and church organizations around the Diocese of Oakland either alone or with other parishes and community groups open their pantries and hearts to individuals and families who might not otherwise observe the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with a meal and/or companionship. Most if not all are accepting donations or volunteers to help spread the holiday spirit. These parishes reported their efforts:
From St. Ignatius of Antioch in Antioch, pastor Rev. Robert Rien reports the parish participates in a Thanksgiving Basket Outreach to needy families in Antioch and East County. Each year, a list of items to feed a family for Thanksgiving Dinner is placed in the bulletin. Families are encouraged to shop with their children, allowing them to select the items on the list, placing them in a beautifully decorated large box and then bring that box to the church on the weekend of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. On Monday morning, the members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society add a turkey to each box along with fresh produce grown in the parish's Community Garden. Last year, more than 250 boxed dinners and turkeys were distributed. Another special feature of this outreach is that the parish's adopted parochial school of St. Peter Martyr in Pittsburg also participates by contributing boxes. Last year, their students and families contributed 32 Thanksgiving boxes. It is an overwhelming experience of generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness, not to mention a corporal work of mercy. Each box is decorated in Thanksgiving themes by the children, who as well place homemade Thanksgiving cards for each family receiving a complete box.
In Alameda, St. Barnabas Parish's St. Vincent de Paul Conference provides Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets every year.
San Damiano Retreat in Danville will be hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 20. The dinner will feature Thanksgiving favorites as well as non-traditional Thanksgiving fare. The cost is $25 for adults; $12 for kids 12 and under and free for veterans. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Guests are invited to bring non-perishable food items for entry into a raffle. The donated items will go to the Contra Costa County Food Bank.
At St. John the Baptist Parish, El Cerrito, the St. Vincent de Paul Conference distributes a whole turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving.
Holy Spirit Parish, Fremont distributes Thanksgiving food baskets including a whole turkey to families. Clients must live within the parish's 94536 ZIP Code to qualify, otherwise they need to go to the nearest parish within their ZIP Code. Holy Spirit will help any homeless who have no address. 510-797-1660.
Tri-Valley Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner will be offering a traditional sit-down meal from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 for residents in Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Danville at St. Raymond Church, 11555 Shannon Ave., Dublin. Volunteer registration is now open. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Transportation: call Janet at 925-829-8956.
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