Urban and Suburban Groups Team for Turkey Distribution\
SHARE Food Program of Philadelphia, the area’s largest food distribution operation teamed with local agencies, Wayne Presbyterian Church, and its two Southwest affiliates, The Common Place and CityLights Network this year to distribute 175 Thanksgiving turkeys to grateful local families. “It has been 25 years now since Wayne began this outreach,” noted Lorraine Thomas, Operations Manager for Southwest CDC. “First it was through their ministry network, CityLights, and now it includes The Common Place which is its shared space for spiritual, educational and social support for the community at 58th and Chester.”
Wayne members made contributions to its Thanksgiving Day observance fund, and these were channeled to SHARE for turkeys. Thomas has been the coordinator of the distribution and teams with local groups for that function.
Names of families are provided by agencies such as The Mayor’s Commission on Aging and Southwest CDC which provides LIHEAP, Crisis, Homelessness Prevention, other community services in Southwest and sponsors a Neighborhood Advisor Council.
“Our Southwest CDC counselors are in contact daily with families and individuals who are desperate for food assistance – year around,” asserted Thomas, who began working with CityLights to provide food assistance when she was performing community outreach at the Health Annex based at Myers Recreation Center a quarter century ago.
“The stories of people depressed by poverty, mental health challenges, and the Covid crisis break your heart,” Thomas said. “Making turkeys available as the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving Day celebration – especially in these difficult times – is a small gesture but hopefully a meaningful one.”
Wayne members are directly involved elsewhere in outreach around Thanksgiving time. Volunteers will help deliver hot meals to residents of Presby’s Inspired Life Apartments at 58th and Greenway on Thanksgiving morning, deliver baked goods to Outley House Men’s Shelter on Friday, and help prepare lunch for Outley residents on Saturday.
Donations to SHARE for its year-around programs to alleviate food insecurity in Philadelphia may be made through it’s website www.sharefoodprogram.org