Updated: Cristo Rey Community Center Thanksgiving Event

Monday, November 23, 2015, 3:10 pm
Jennifer Hill Worthington

Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching. This week many of us will be busy shopping for delicious food, planning family dinners, and packing to travel to be with loved ones all over the area and the country.

But what if you didn’t have the means to shop? What if there was no one to make plans with? What if this season didn’t seem to give you much to be thankful for? Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone to reach out to you in that moment where you thought there was nothing, and give you a great something for which to be thankful?

Wouldn’t it be great if the loudest noise you heard on Thanksgiving wasn’t your stomach growling but rather the laughter and joy of a community that had come together to celebrate? Welcome to Cristo Rey’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Sure the event is still going strong after over 30 years, but now the stakes are greater and the goals are bigger than ever before as Cristo Rey’s band of organizers and volunteers strive to make a deeper impact on the Greater Lansing Area. This year the Thanksgiving Dinner event is part of a growing Community Kitchen movement that has already prepared over 22,000 meals for those who are hungry in our area.

Cristo Rey’s event is the best known, and generally gets the best press and most attention. Its organizers, led by Michael Hood, are hoping to raise $50,000 this month alone to help fund the Thanksgiving meal and the new Community Kitchen through the holidays.

The Thanksgiving event itself is unlike any other. A family-style meal is served on Thanksgiving Day at the Cristo Rey Community Center, complete with bilingual menus from which guests may select their food and wait staff dressed in classic black and white to serve and make the guests feel extra special. Over 200 volunteers will help prepare, deliver, serve, set up and clean up.

The Thanksgiving event does not stop at just the group meal at the Community Center; in addition to the main event, hundreds of meals will be delivered to the homes of those unable to travel due to illness or inability to travel on their own.

As you can imagine this is a huge undertaking for Cristo Rey and they consider themselves blessed that they have always had enough and have never had to turn anyone away. The stakes get higher every year, but Hood, his partner Laurie Carpenter and their crew are confident that they will be triumphant and successful again this year.

Of course they are in great need of as much help as they can get as Thanksgiving is now only a few days away. If you would like to donate, please visit http://www.cristoreycommunity.org/donate/ and designate your donation for the Thanksgiving Event or Community Kitchen. If you can prepare food, serve food, or deliver food, please contact Michael Hood directly at oldvoyageur@gmail.com to get your assignment and join in the effort.

In addition to food items, the event also provides a mitten tree and children's activities for guests. If you have any donations such as hats, gloves, scarves, Spanish books, flashcards, or any craft supplies, please contact Amy Stephenson at stephensoncrew@comcast.net.

Maybe the best way to show gratitude for the blessings you have in your life is to be a blessing to someone else who desperately needs one.


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