More than 400 needy families will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner this year thanks to the Worthington Food Pantry and the Worthington Presbyterian Church.
On Nov. 18, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, approximately 200 people pulled up to the doors of the Healthy Worthington Food Pantry and Resource Center. Volunteers greeted each, then loaded turkeys and the ingredients for all the traditional side dishes into their vehicles.
A few individuals and families arrived on foot, unable to afford transportation.
In a separate effort to help disadvantaged families, volunteers and church members planned to put together 200 food baskets on Monday night to be delivered to waiting families on Tuesday.
The food pantry dinners go to the agency's clients, who receive food from the pantry year round. Last month, 438 families from the Worthington school district were served.
This year, 225 families received food for Thanksgiving. Besides turkeys, the grocery bags contained pumpkin, stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and green beans.
Students from Colonial Hills Elementary School donated and assembled the makings for green bean casseroles, complete with the recipe and a foil baking pan.
The turkeys and side-dish ingredients were purchased by CA Technologies, a software company located in Crosswoods. The company's national headquarters will match the donation, which will possibly allow the pantry to provide Christmas dinners as well.
Workers from CA Technologies also volunteered, assembling the bags of food, greeting clients as they pulled up on Sunday afternoon, and loading the groceries into vehicles.
Staff members do service projects on a regular basis, said Carl Staton. They recently visited the food pantry, and were inspired to do more, he said.
"To me, it's a simple way to focus on families one at a time," he said.
The food pantry and resource center, located at 445 E. Granville Road, has been serving Worthington families for more than three years. It relies on food and monetary donations along with volunteer help to distribute food and provide other services to families in need.
This is the third year the food baskets have been given away at the church, though congregation member Marylou Posey actually began the program 15 years ago at Whetstone High School.
Families served come from the Worthington schools and from Salem Elementary School in Columbus, where the church frequently helps out.
Included in the baskets were turkeys, stuffing, milk, butter, bread, noodles, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, and a pan in which to cook the turkey. Kroger provides the food at a discounted rate.
The baskets were assembled by Girl Scouts and by church families, then dropped off at the schools where families in need could pick them up.
Posey pays for the food, and is reimbursed as donations are collected. As of three days before Thanksgiving, only half of this year's $8,000 bill had been collected from congregation and community members.
Donations can be sent to the Worthington Presbyterian Church, 773 High St., Worthington. Checks should include a notation to be directed to the Thanksgiving food baskets.
Posey said she makes the baskets happen because it is, simply, the right thing to do.
"Jesus taught us to help other people," she said.