Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Assembly Line of Giving ; Churchgoers, Volunteers Help Feed 1,800 Families at Gathering

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Assembly Line of Giving ; Churchgoers, Volunteers Help Feed 1,800 Families at Gathering

Article excerpt

More than 700 volunteers worked to ensure 1,800 Tri-State families who are at or below the poverty line received the quintessential components for a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday at the Evansville Rescue Mission's 91st Gobbler Gathering food giveaway. From folding boxes to carting the 75-pound bags of fixings to cars, the Light throng of volunteers kept the giveaway running like a smooth factory production line. "We've learned through our mistakes in previous years, and we're at the point where we think we have a well-oiled machine," said Chris-Michael Morrison, chief development officer at Evansville Rescue Mission.

Stacked in the food assembly tent at the rescue mission's Walnut Street location was more than 41 tons of food donated or made possible by some 200 local businesses, schools, churches and other organizations, Morrison said.

Kevin Smith, a board member and volunteer coordinator for the food tent, said their ability to serve more families in a quicker time has improved over the years.

Just like the Rescue Mission's origin, it all starts with a church service, where recipients have a brief 20-minute service featuring music provided by Crossroads Christian Church.

From there, each person was paired with a volunteer who led them through the food lines.

Down one of the two lines, more volunteers loaded each person's 35-item dinner basket, and since the boxes weighed about 75 pounds, more volunteers helped cart the food to a person's car or wherever they needed.

"They're assisted from the time they get out of chapel to the time they get to where they're going," Smith said.

There were seven services Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. through 7 p.m., and Smith said they could serve 250 people in 45 minutes.

In addition to the 1,400 families who received a Thanksgiving basket Tuesday, volunteers delivered 400 baskets to Downtown public- housing, including Kennedy and Buckner Towers, Liberty Terrace Apartments, Horizon Homes and Lucas Place II. …

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