Despite restrictions from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, St. Augustine Hunger Center is planning to prepare and serve about 12,000 Thanksgiving meals on Nov. 26. But it needs volunteers and donations to do so.
Those wishing to register for a meal, those needing a ride to a meal location or those needing a meal delivered to them should call the church at 216-781-5880. Those who can volunteer to assist with preparing, packaging or delivering meals to the homebound also should call 216-781-5880. Anyone knowing of an individual or a family in need of a meal also can call the church to make arrangements.
Father Joseph McNulty, St. Augustine pastor, said even though the hunger center cannot open its doors for a traditional sit-down meal and fellowship because of the health crisis, about 700 people still get daily meals – many of which are delivered to their homes. The hunger center switched to take-out meals earlier this year as the pandemic took hold.
Now, the continuing spread of COVID-19 is forcing changes to the way the Thanksgiving meal has been served for nearly 50 years. Instead of welcoming people to the dining room at the church and other locations around the Diocese of Cleveland, most meals will be distributed as takeout meals at sites around the area or delivered.
Pandemic-imposed safety guidelines strictly limit the number of people permitted in gathering spaces, so only the homeless who have nowhere else to go will be able to have a sit-down meal at a handful of prearranged locations. Capacity is limited at each site in order to meet the social distancing guidelines.
“Meals will be prepared and delivered to families’ homes who call in or individuals who would like to pick up their meals here at St. Augustine Church can do so,” Father McNulty said.
Those who register for a meal can visit the site to receive a packaged dinner 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.
This year, there are 16 service areas for meals.
West Side sites in Cleveland are:
- St. Augustine Church Hall, 2486 W. 14thSt.
- Mary Queen of Peace Parish, 4423 Pearl Road
- Franklin Circle Church, 1688 Fulton Road
East Side sites in Cleveland are:
- House of God Church, 12306 Soika Ave., off East 116thStreet
- Fifth Christian Church, 14109 Benwood Ave.
- Truelight Missionary Church, 1799 E. 55thSt.
- River of Life Ministries, 24600 E. 89thSt.
- St. Paul Missionary Church, 7903 Kinsman Ave.
- Anointed Gates Church, 800 E. 152ndSt.
- Willing Worker Missionary Church, 3510 E. 124thSt.
East suburban sites are:
- Sanctuary Missionary Baptist Church, 4064 E. 131stSt., Garfield Heights and
- Fellowship Church of God, 2481 Columbus Road, Bedford Heights.
Sites in other counties are:
- St. Elizabeth Center, 2776 Caroline Ave., Lorain
- First Presbyterian Church, Huron
- New Vision New Day Ministry, 1970 Everett Ave., Youngstown and
- Chosen 4His Glory, 563 5thSt., Struthers
Residents only will be served at St. Claire Place, St. Joseph’s Home, Harvard Village Senior Apartments, Orca House, Gordon Square, Williams Chapel, Crestview Apartments, Riverview Towers, Bellaire Gardens, Winton House, Lakeview Towers, LaRond Building, Coleman Court and King Kennedy Estates.
Because so many meals will be delivered this year, Father McNulty said there is an additional cost to package them and thus a greater need for donations to help offset costs. Donations can be dropped off at the church office or mailed to St. Augustine Church, 2486 W. 14thSt., Cleveland.
“Remember the homeless and those in need as we begin the holiday season,” he said. “Pray for them and support the shelters that seek to give a hand to those in need.”