The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 20, 2012

Volunteers distribute Thanksgiving dinners

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Fifteen volunteers handed out boxes of Thanksgiving meals for families in need early Monday at the Salvation Army on Lake Avenue.

About 225 families received the boxes, which contained a frozen turkey or ham, potatoes, yams, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, fruit, pumpkin pie, bread and milk to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

The recipients were referred by Signature Health, Salvation Army, Corrections Corporation of America, Ashtabula County Medical Center, Hiawatha Church and Matters of the Heart.

ACMC also gave free flu shots, and Joann Fabrics gave away free fall-colored silk flowers for table centerpieces.

This is the first year all of these groups and businesses have partnered in this effort.

“It’s awesome; a great collaboration,” said Cheryl Longden, president of the Salvation Army’s board of directors. “We could have cooked a dinner, but it’s nice that they can stay home and do their own dinner. Then, they can have left-overs the next day.”

David Balliet, 29, of Ashtabula, said he was thankful to receive a box of food and a turkey.

“I will be able to have a good feast, instead of a regular meal,” he said. “It’s wonderful.”

Jen Meivogel, case manager at Signature Health, said other recipients expressed gratitude, as well.

“This is wonderful; it’s heartwarming to help so many people,” she said. “And, they can sign up for HALO and other services while they are here.”

Alice Harden, service center coordinator for the Salvation Army, said she was pleased with the program and how many folks they were able to help out.

Ashley Anderson, 23, of Ashtabula, received a turkey dinner for her family. She said she was homeless until last year.

“I’m renting an apartment so I can cook again,” she said. “I think it’s great the Salvation Army is helping us out.”