St. Matthew's Gives Turkeys, Thanks

St. Matthew's Gives Turkeys, Thanks

article and photos by Caitlin Gutenberger, News Editor

This past Tuesday, November 22, St. Matthew's, Sacramento held their annual pre-Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. Church staff and 32 volunteers (some pictured right) worked to hand turkeys and meal trimmings out to over 400 families - the biggest crowd they have ever served.

Early Tuesday morning, families began to arrive to collect numbers, fill out paperwork and wait inside the heated church to be called (pictured bottom right). Volunteers served hot cocoa, coffee, bagels and cups of soup to those that waited. Based on size, each family received a turkey, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, broth and other trimmings.

The weekly Clothes Closet and Health Outreach Triage Clinic were also open, providing those in need with clothing and medical services. Two church members worked to prepare a special "thank you" meal for the volunteers - a complete Thanksgiving feast - to be enjoyed at the end of the day. Every corner of the church building seemed to be buzzing with activity.

The Rev. Deacon Cindy Long (pictured left with St. Matthew's Treasurer, Cee Cee Coleman and Cee Cee's daughter) has been involved in the pre-Thanksgiving turkey give-away for five years now. In her time at St. Matthew's, she has seen the number of families served at this event swell from around 100 in her first year to 360 last year, and now over 400. "We receive turkeys or money to buy them from our parishioners, neighbors and other churches," she says. "St. Michael's Church and School, Carmichael and Trinity, Folsom are long-time supporters."

In addition to this support, St. Matthew's received 100 turkeys from California State Assembly Member Richard Pan (a collaborative effort with the Arden-Arcade/Carmichael faith community), along with a grant from Episcopal Community Services that was used to purchase additional food. "Our other food items for this day and on an ongoing basis come from individuals, area businesses and purchases funded by donations," says Cindy.

While Thanksgiving has now come and gone, St. Matthew's is always in need of donations for their weekly Food and Clothes Closets, as well as for the Health Outreach Triage Clinic and Parent Resource Center. The most needed items are food (both non-perishable and fresh produce), gently used clothing for all ages, new socks, hygiene products, dental care items, toilet paper, diapers and children's books. St. Matthew's is always looking for volunteers with any of the following skills - health care experience, basic computer skills, basic handyman skills, truck driving experience and those who simply enjoy helping others.

Those with items or time to donate can contact the Rev. Deacon Cindy Long by email: cindylongrn@surewest.net.

To learn more about St. Matthew's, please visit their brand new website: www.stmatthewschurchsacramento.org.

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