Volunteerism booms around the holiday.
If you want to spend part of your Thanksgiving week actually giving, consider volunteering at or donating to one of the free Thanksgiving dinners in Erie and Crawford counties.
Here’s a list of free meals, courtesy of my colleague Dana Massing. While most of these dinners already have volunteer cooks and servers, donations like pies or cranberries are needed, Massing found.
Massing encourages interested parties to call ahead to discover what the organization’s needs are.
-Noon to 2 p.m.: Community of Caring, 245 E. Eighth St., 456-6661.
-11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Erie City Mission, 1023 French St., 452-4421.
-3-6 p.m.: Odessa’s Place, 628 W. 18th St., takeout only, 899-3457.
-10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Calamari’s Squid Row and Mercyhurst Preparatory School, at Calamari’s, 1317 State St., call in advance for delivery, 459-4276.
-11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Sisters of St. Joseph and Gannon University, at Gannon’s Waldron Campus Center, 124 W. Seventh St., requests for delivery must be made Tuesday between 9 and 11 a.m., 836-4100.
-11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Hyatt’s Old Fashioned Restaurant, 928 West Erie Plaza, 456-0102.
-Noon: Family & Community Christian Association, 378 Chestnut St., Meadville, call in advance for delivery, (814) 337-4279.
-Noon to 3 p.m.: Sons of the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary, Post 237, 1 S. Main St., Union City, reservations appreciated, (814) 438-2312.
-1-4 p.m.: Dominick’s 24 Hour Eatery, 123 E. 12th St., 456-6891.
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. The Erie City Mission serves a holiday dinner to about 400 people each year.
This year, the mission is looking for pies (pumpkin, apple, your favorite, etc.) to add a sweet finish to its meal.
You can drop off pie donations at the mission’s kitchen dock door, at East 11th and French streets, from Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. to Nov. 21 at 9 a.m.
To learn more about pie donations, visit this Facebook event.
Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
Who are they?
Now celebrating 100 years of service, the Erie City Mission is a Christian non-profit social outreach organization, running several programs to serve those in need in the Erie community.
According to director of Missions Ministries, RoseMarie Lackey, Erie City Mission is, “dedicated to providing quality services for individuals, families, and communities impacted by the affects of addictions, poverty, homelessness, and lack of hope.”
What do they do?
“We don’t just serve one kind of person; people dealing with mental health, job loss, who just don’t have enough money at the end of the month,” said Lackey, who recognizes times are tough this year.
“We’re dealing with a whole host of people. Anyone of us could end up homeless in this day and age.”
“People express such humility and gratitude in receiving our services. That leaves us very humble,” said Lackey.
ECM maintains several social outreach services, including:
-Free Meal Ministry: A soup kitchen free hot lunch, operated out of two centers. Served from the Mission Dining Room seven days a week, and at the San Juan United Methodist Church Monday through Friday.
- Samaritan Emergency Care Center for Men: Provides a bed, breakfast and shower to men in need for up to 45 days.
- New Life Program: Long-term recovery program, lasting six months to two years, for men battling drug addiction.
- Food Pantry: Open twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, individuals can come once a week.
- King’s Kloset: A “clothing pantry,” open twice a week, Monday and Wednesday, where individuals can come once a month to obtain needed items of clothing.
-Women’s Connection Ministry: Connects women from diverse backgrounds to commune and serve.
“When the line is all the way out the door, we obviously see there is a need,” said Lackey. “We’re trying to do more than just provide them with physical needs, we’re trying to build confidence.”
They also run the Thrifty Shopper, a social enterprise benefiting the Mission, that offers used clothing at highly discounted prices. Find them in Erie in the West Erie Plaza and in Girard at 10082 Ridge Road.
What can you do to help? Contact Lackey, and she’ll help you help Erie. “I love to work with groups and come up with creative ways to engage,” she said.
Holiday Charity Events:
“When they may not have much to look forward to during the holidays, we’re doing our best to enhance the quality of the spirit of the season and make it joyful for them,” said lackey.
-Thanksgiving Turkey Basket Drive: The Mission is collecting items for their Thanksgiving drive; Monday they will donate turkey baskets for more than 1,000 people.
-Thanksgiving dinner, Wednesday, November 23.
-Holiday Meal Volunteers: Although the Mission already has their annual volunteer Thanksgiving meal team set, they need helpers to prep and serve additional holiday meals.
-Christmas Caroling, November 28 – December 31: Can you sing or play an instrument? Carol for the community during the Mission’s public lunches.
-Christmas for Kids: Contact Jerry Jaworowski at the center to be matched with a family and their Christmas “wish list.”
Best way to get in touch?
Talk with RoseMarie Lackey, Director of Mission Ministries: (814) 452-4421 ext. 34. Or you can send a message on their website.