Deale’s Cedar Grove Church Buys Thanksgiving Supper for 25 Needy South County Families
That headline is just a tad misleading. That’s because Cedar Grove United Methodist Church in Deale doesn’t just buy Thanksgiving dinner for 25 families. They also provide those same 25 families with Christmas dinner.
Ingrid Quimby-High is the coordinator for the Holiday Sharing program at Cedar Grove. The program is coordinated with the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services (DSS).
Quimby-High said that Cedar Grove has participated in the program for over ten years. They are the largest providers to the Holiday Sharing program in South County according to Tanya Steele, special program coordinator for DSS.
Previously, Cedar Grove prepared Thanksgiving dinners and arranged for pickup or delivery with the families in need. But Quimby-High said that approach had some pitfalls—mainly that they were dealing with perishable food items. This created a problem if there were crossed signals or the delivery of the food didn’t go according to plan.
So, the church decided to go with grocery store gift cards. Steele said that the donors can give food or gift cards to the families in need.
Cedar Grove gives families $50 to $75 gift cards so that they can buy the staples for their Thanksgiving supper. She said they also have a program to help seniors with a $25 gift card. This also allows them to deliver the cards after the holiday if a delivery can’t be arranged.
“The families are all in South County. Sometimes we may go up to Edgewater, but in the last few years it has all been in South County,” Quimby-High said.
The funds raised are all through donations through the church.
“People put money in the collection plate and mark it for Holiday Sharing,” she said. “Kids give their own money, they’ll empty their piggy banks to help.”
Most of the time, she said that people give $20 to $25 contributions. One time, they got a $1,000 contribution. Quimby-High said one woman who is a neighbor of a parishioner writes a check for the program each year.
Cedar Grove collects the funds and then Quimby-High coordinates the gift card purchases and delivery of the cards to the families in need. She lets them know about programs and activities at the church, including their weekly Wednesday suppers — which are open to the public and free.
Quimby-High said for the senior citizens, they deliver a hot meal and the gift card.
“We do a dinner the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we can deliver the seniors a hot meal. Sometimes seniors don’t have transportation, they’re less inclined to drive somewhere for a meal,” she said.
Quimby-High said that people who contribute are exceptionally generous.
Cedar Grove United Methodist Church has long been involved in helping those in need in the community. In the summer, they run a breakfast program so that children have adequate meals when school is out. She said she saw more people participating in that program this year.
“I think maybe with sequestration, this year it has just hit people,” she said. “It doesn’t take much. But there is a need. We’re helping families that we’ve never helped before.”
Quimby-High said that the program isn’t just a benefit for those in need.
“I get a tremendous amount of gratitude for what we have out of doing this program. It really puts it in perspective for me how blessed my family is. It allows my ids to get involved in a simple way with their community,” she said. “It’s a tremendous gift.”
Cedar Grove will continue to take donations and names of families in need. People who make a donation can get a tax receipt.
“And the money will go straight to helping more families,” Quimby-High said.
The Department of Social Services (DSS). will accept online contributions until Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving and the 23rd of December for Christmas.
- Can You Help Provide for a Needy Anne Arundel Family This Thanksgiving (southriversource.com)