Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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November 23, 2010

Needy thankful for Thanksgiving

LOCKPORT — St. John the Baptist Outreach Center handed out Thanksgiving dinner fixings to 500 grateful families in orderly fashion Tuesday at the church hall on Chestnut Street.

According to director Michael Boron, 30 families were scheduled every 15 minutes starting at 11 a.m. and 500 families signed up in advance. About 25-30 volunteers helped keep the parish tradition go smoothly.

“We’re busier because of the job situation,” said Norma Kelliher, a retired hairdresser that’s volunteered at St. John’s for six years. “We’re dealing with far more people and, thank God, we have a very generous community.”

Crystal Simpson, who worked in Medina,  was getting food for her two children, 5 and 4, and her fiancé who is disabled. “Right now we’re having a very hard time, but we’re trying to get through the financial problems,” she said. “I think it’s a great thing that they’re doing, very great.”

 “l got fired due to my kids were sick and I had to take days off and I went over my point system,” she said. “I receive unemployment, but unfortunately that’s not going to last much longer.”

Michelle Stuyvenberg, who worked as a custodian at Cornell Cooperative Extension, has been unemployed for 10 and a half months due to budget cuts.  Stuyvenberg, who has six children, said, “It’s been tough. They’ve (St. John’s) treated me well for the last 20 years.”

Stuyvenberg used to ride his bike to St. Johns for clothes when Sister Helen had the garage.

Tables were filled with bags of potatoes and apples; cans of vegetables and dessert fixings. Jean and Ed White dispensed cake mixes, Jell-0 and pies.

“It’s well planned,” Ed White said. “We’ve been doing it several years. We spend the day.”

After bread was placed on top of bags, clients went out to the garage for a turkey or chicken.

• St. John The Baptist will celebrate it’s traditional Thanksgiving Mass at 10 a.m. “We’re inviting the entire Lockport community to the celebration,” Boron said. The liturgy is special for giving thanks.

The offertory is focused on Thanksgiving and residents are asked to bring nonperishable food products, personal hygiene items and cash donations for Sister Ellen’s Food pantry.

Contact reporter Bill Wolcott at 439-9222, ext. 6246.

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