By SYLVIA BENAVIDEZ
Families, friends, and neighbors have long enjoyed the hospitality of a good meal at various Albion churches during Thanksgiving. 2020, the year of COVID-19, has changed the serving of those meals, but not the spirit.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced at the COVID-19 press conference on Sunday sweeping restrictions for the next three weeks. For example, there will be no indoor dining in restaurants to slow the exponential growth of coronavirus cases currently happening in Michigan. Whitmer asked residents not to get together with people or travel to individuals who are not members of their immediate household. Health officials also warn over the next three weeks to pick one other home to interact with during this continuous spike of cases.
Albion churches were already thinking about ways to serve Thanksgiving meals safely.
Adding a Thanksgiving meal to the usual Tuesday food distribution now run at Albion’s Food Hub building by Oaklawn Hospital.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Freeway Church chose to cancel or not schedule their events for this year’s celebration. They will social distance for their worship services, but not gather for meals. Instead, along with several other churches, an Albion business, and a non-profit, they are adding a Thanksgiving meal to the usual Tuesday food distribution now run at Albion’s Food Hub building by Oaklawn Hospital.
Albion United Methodist Pastor Leslee Fritz of the Albion Ministerial Association said many people worked together to bring a holiday meal to those hurting from the many problems the pandemic has caused this year.
Fritz explained that Carolyn Amos from Harrington Elementary School volunteered hours to arrange for turkeys to be added at Tuesday’s Food Hub distribution site. College Chevrolet, Play Right Sports, and Oaklawn Hospital provided the funding for the popular holiday meat. At the time of printing, seven churches are contributing to the rest of the ingredients in the Thanksgiving food baskets. They are St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Albion United Methodist Church, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, St. James Episcopal Church, Freeway Church, Bread of Life, and Reclamation Free Methodist Church.
The Tuesday distributions begin at 4 p.m.
“We know that this is not the Thanksgiving hoped for, but wherever we can, let’s give thanks to God for our many blessings,” Pastor Fritz said. Other churches have shared their plans to encourage the community with the Albion Ministerial Association. Caring Community Church is hosting a food drive all through November to replace the emergency food supplies stored at the Food Hub building.
Build Them On The Rock Ministries has coordinated for the Friday before Thanksgiving, November 20, a drive-by Thanksgiving dinner box giveaway from 1-5 p.m.
Last year, they hosted a Thanksgiving meal at their new location on Porter Street, but they do not want to expose members of their congregation and guests to the pandemic health risk
“This ready-to-eat meal is our way of giving back to the community,” said Carol Brown.
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