BY JOHN E. USALIS
MINERSVILLE — As Thanksgiving Day approaches, the Holy Family Roman Catholic Parish is ready to help put a hearty holiday meal on the table of those who may be struggling in these tough times.
The parish, created with the merger of St. Matthew the Evangelist and St. Michael the Archangel church in Minersville earlier this year, helps the community with its food pantry outreach, along with a soup kitchen that, for the time being, is not operating due to the pandemic.
The food pantry outreach led to the idea of doing something to help for Thanksgiving Day.
“I’m friends with Jeremy Buchinsky of State Farm Insurance who has done clothing drives with other agencies in the area,” the Rev. Jason F. Stokes, pastor, said. “We’ve helped distribute the clothing that had been donated and organized by our outreach committee coordinated by Sister Catherine Therese. So Jeremy asked if we’d like to do a food project and I said, absolutely.”
“They’re doing mainly all the non-turkey related things,” Stokes said. “We (parish) get a lot of donations of turkeys from parishioners and some businesses. We also raise money for this community outreach.”
The goal is provide at least 50 uncooked meals with the fixings for pickup, though it may be higher.
“We want people to call so they can order a meal,” Stokes said. “Those who order may come to the food pantry on Nov. 25 between 10 a.m. and noon.”
The food pantry is held every other Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Lewis Street entrance to the Holy Family office and Religious Education Center at 538 Sunbury St.
Stokes said the parish consolidations included the merger of the St. Vincent de Paul societies of both churches.
“We combined them into our Community Outreach Committee,” Stokes said. “Between the two societies, they had the soup kitchen lunches once a month and food pantries. We normally get about 30 to 50 people every other week for the pantry.”
Stokes said the food pantry is an important community outreach at this time.
“When there was a spike in COVID and people were beginning to be laid off, we knew they need more help,” Stokes said. “People need it more now than ever. When people need our help and places are closing down, the church needs to help people out. That’s our mission — to spread the Gospel and to help people.”
Residents in the Minersville area needing a Thanksgiving meal should contact Sister Catherine Therese Brennan, SSJ, the parish’s Community Outreach Committee coordinator, at the parish office at 570-544-4741, Ext. 4.
Donations of food gift cards are also welcome. Contact the above number for more information. If donating through the collection basket, put the card or cards in an envelope marked “Thanksgiving Donation Gift Cards.”