A traditional holiday meal is being provided this Thanksgiving to 150 local families, thanks to Gahanna Residents In Need (GRIN).

A traditional holiday meal is being provided this Thanksgiving to 150 local families, thanks to Gahanna Residents In Need (GRIN).

Melvin Miller, president of the nonprofit organization, said the Gahanna community has provided enough donations to cover the needed 150 Thanksgiving boxes that are equivalent to 600 or more meals.

"Each family will get a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, canned vegetables, pumpkin pie with topping, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and we're providing pancake mix and cereal," he said.

Most families will receive frozen turkeys, Miller said, but about 15 residents who were late in seeking assistance will receive a complete Thanksgiving meal through Bob Evans.

"People could donate to Bob Evans, and they provide a complete Thanksgiving meal that's boxed up," he said.

This year's request for assistance from 150 families is slightly higher than last year, when about 140 families requested help.

Families chosen for the program must live within the Gahanna-Jefferson school district. Miller said the organization sends letters to all parents eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches, and people may apply for Thanksgiving dinner, food for Christmas dinner and Christmas gifts.

About 20 volunteers gathered at GRIN's base at Mifflin Presbyterian Church, 123 Granville St., on Nov. 19 to assemble the Thanksgiving boxes that were distributed the following day.

"The people in Gahanna are so wonderful," Miller said. "They really are willing to help those in need. It seems like each year they step up with contributions and are able to help."

The groups making the largest contributions to GRIN this year were Gahanna Lincoln High School, Gahanna's three middle schools, and several churches, businesses and individuals.

Gahanna Lincoln government teacher Jerry Englehart said more than 100 students participated in a Nov. 13 food drive through a project called "Gahanna Feeding Gahanna."

The food collection for GRIN marked the inaugural year for the service project by government students, who collected donations from the community at the high school.

"It was a great day," Englehart said. "We wanted to do something for Gahanna. It was learning experience for our students."

Gahanna Residents in Need, a community-wide, faith-based organization, was founded in 1998, Miller said.

It's committed to helping residents of the Gahanna-Jefferson school district in a time of need through its food pantry, Thanksgiving meals, Christmas family adoption program and clothing program and utility and housing financial aid, among others.

Anyone needing assistance should first contact HandsOn Central Ohio (FIRSTLINK) at 221-2255, and then contact GRIN at 471-4491, ext. 61, or email grin_gahanna@yahoo.com.