Nov. 24—Willow Praise Church in Willowick hosted its free Thanksgiving meal day on Nov. 24 to help feed the less fortunate by delivering meals throughout Lake and Cuyahoga Counties.
This is the 24th year Willow Praise Church has served the community by working to provide over 700 meals for needy and homebound residents throughout the area.
"We want to not only feed people's souls but feed their stomachs if they need a meal," said Darlene Mullen, Thanksgiving Outreach coordinator for Willow Praise Church. "It's all homemade and we hope to feed as many people as we can. We believe that no one should be allowed to go hungry on Thanksgiving and we are thankful for the help and support we are able to give to those in need."
Turkey was not the only thing on the menu as each take home meal providing patrons with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
The church, located at 32901 Vine St., started with as many as 100 volunteers working to prep meals made from over 70 turkeys. Each take home meal was then placed into the vehicles of several volunteers and delivered to those in need.
Willow Praise Church traditionally held a Thanksgiving sit down for senior citizens in years past but since the pandemic has opted for a more streamlined and healthier way to give back to the community.
"It's a lot of fun giving back to people especially on Thanksgiving. I'm thankful I have this opportunity to help people who really need it," said Will Genovese, volunteer for Willow Praise Church. "We know we are very fortunate, so it feels very good to be able to give back to the community."
Among the volunteers were several members of University School's hockey team who were in charge of loading the various food packages into the vehicles for delivery.
Deliveries were not just made to Willowick neighborhoods, as the donations were given in Euclid, Wickliffe, and Willoughby and more.
"We have so many talented volunteers that are working to deliver all these meals," said Angela Schmidt, volunteer and coordinator for Willow Praise Church. "I'm thankful that we have so many hard-working people who want to give back to our communities. Everyone has put in so much work to distribute food all over."
Schmidt said that in addition to the many deliveries of food to residential houses they have donated a great number of meals to Willowick Police and Fire departments. Willow Praise has also donated dozens of meals to assisted living centers such Abbott's Mannor for elderly and infirm residents to enjoy.
Willow Praise hopes to continue to give back to its community and feed the less fortunate and is constantly hosting events like this. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can call at 440-944-5683.