Parishes give away hundreds of Thanksgiving meals and food baskets

Lee Henderson, a member of St. Augustine Church, handed a bag filled with items for a Thanksgiving meal to a woman, at the parish on 13th and Broadway Nov. 23. (Record Photo By Ruby Thomas)

Parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville made it possible for several hundred families and individuals to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Close to 600 meals and food baskets were delivered or picked up in the week before Thanksgiving.

In a partnership between St. Augustine Church’s Social Concerns Ministry and Holy Trinity Church’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, parishioners prepared more than 160 food baskets that included turkey, fresh fruit, greens, stuffing, gravy and other dishes for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The baskets were handed out at St. Augustine,1310 W. Broadway, Nov. 23.

Kate Biagi-Rickert, who serves as secretary of Holy Trinity’s St. Vincent de Paul conference, said the Thanksgiving baskets stem from a long-standing collaboration between the two parishes that started in 2008. They were happy to be able to do it again this year, especially in light of the pandemic and the hardships it’s brought about.

“We know that now, more than ever, there are families in our community that are struggling with food insecurity,” said Biagi-Rickert during a recent interview. “We’re glad that this long-standing holiday program between the parishes can provide a special Thanksgiving meal to low-income families throughout Louisville this year.”

Holy Trinity eighth-graders donated items for the baskets and parishioners donated money, said Biagi-Rickert. Earlier in the year, families from across Jefferson County, regardless of their faith tradition, had the opportunity to submit their names for a food basket, she noted.

Emily Mosby, who chairs the Social Concerns Ministry at St. Augustine, said she is pleased with the yearly program.

“We are our brothers’ keeper and everyone needs help at some time. When we started in 2008 we were experiencing the recession and here we are again in a pandemic,” said Mosby.

The baskets also included a notecard letting families know they are welcome to attend Mass at St. Augustine and Holy Trinity or its sister parish, Holy Name Church.

During the year, St. Augustine and Holy Name also partner to hand out sandwiches, fruit, hot soup and snacks to about 350 homeless and needy individuals each month, said Biagi-Rickert. Holy Trinity’s St. Vincent de Paul conference provides the food for about half the meals and St. Augustine’s Social Concerns Ministry provides the other half and hands out the lunches. The program has been placed on hold due to safety and health concerns brought about by the pandemic.

St. Michael Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive, also held its annual Thanksgiving food basket giveaway this year. St. Michael held an event Nov. 7 where parishioners from around the archdiocese were invited to drop off items for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, said Sandra Woods, who leads the St. Michael’s Outreach Ministry that operates the program.

“We were amazed at how many people came and gave. It was wonderful,” said Woods.

St. Michael put together 150 food baskets and on Nov. 21 parishioners fanned out across the archdiocese to leave baskets on the porches of families who couldn’t pick them up.

“We’re working off the Corporal Works of Mercy. We just want to help; it doesn’t matter what the need may be,” said Woods. “We don’t want anyone to feel they are alone. It comes from love and compassion.”

The leftover items were donated to Sister Visitor Center, which serves needy families in the West End, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“We love the opportunity to help as many people as we can,” said Woods, noting the parish will offer help to needy families again in December with a Santa Shop.

St. Teresa of Calcutta Church in Fairdale, Ky., also reached out to needy individuals in the community prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The church’s new ministry — St. Teresa’s Kitchen launched in August — prepared 300 Thanksgiving dinners last weekend. Parishioners delivered or handed them out Nov. 22 at a drive-through event at the church.

St. Teresa served its first meals to about 150 parishioners Aug. 8 as a way of letting them know they weren’t alone during the pandemic, said parishioner Sandy Moore. Moore’s husband Deacon Joseph Moore serves St. Teresa as a permanent deacon.

This time, St. Teresa reached out to non-profits in the Fairdale area to help get the word out to needy individuals in the community, she said. St. Teresa’s Kitchen plans on preparing and serving Christmas dinners in December as well.

Moore said they will start taking reservations for those meals after Thanksgiving. To find out how to place a reservation contact Moore at st.teresaskitchen@gmail.com.

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