‘Tis the Season of Giving in Park Hill

GPHC Update - Family

 

We’ve just completed one of the busiest periods for GPHC’s Food Pantry. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone who donated food or money toward Thanksgiving food baskets, and share a little of what your generosity provided.

Families began signing up for turkey baskets at the beginning of October. As the list of people requesting help grew, I worried we might have to start turning people away. But this is Park Hill, and help swiftly arrived.

Side dishes came in first – mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, gravy, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie ingredients. Some people brought in complete meals for a family of four. Others dropped off grocery gift cards, enabling me to dash out and buy more of anything in short supply. Volunteers from MomTime at Montview and Girl Scouts from Steck Elementary helped to sort donations and start packing boxes, which we were able to customize with veggie sides of the clients’ choosing. As grateful families arrived to pick up their food, incredible hard-working food pantry volunteers Becky Richardson, Pamela Washington, and Peggy Streit greeted them with a smile and ensured their boxes were complete.

It seemed that just as turkey supplies would start to run critically low, people would walk in the door carrying the perfect quantity of birds needed and the freezers would fill again. There were several donors who returned a few times in a few days, or who would call from the grocery store and ask what they could provide – it was truly incredible to experience how everyone pulled together. I hope you will take a moment to review the lengthy list of volunteers and donors this month since so many are there because of Thanksgiving help, and know that there were many more who brought in food boxes or coats anonymously. Financial contributions to GPHC throughout the year also enable us to provide these meals, so thank you to our members and sponsors as well.

At the time of publication with two more days to provide turkey baskets, I’m thrilled to report that we have already provided a complete Thanksgiving dinner to 55 families totaling exactly 200 people. That is four times more than we served last year, perhaps due to growing needs, but made possible only because of the outpouring of your generosity.

Everyone giving or receiving food this year seemed to have a story worth telling. A senior veteran was repeatedly in tears, saying that if we weren’t providing his Thanksgiving meal, he’d have none at all. One donor said she was giving us the biggest turkey she could find because she remembered how it felt as a child when her family had received a large turkey from her church after a few Thanksgivings spent sharing only a small chicken or tins of Spam.

Janeisha McGhee’s family was another we were able to help. Janeisha came to the GPHC food pantry for the first time in late November after her family’s food stamps were cut by $250 per month. Janeisha’s husband has been ill since 2006 and had brain surgery in 2011 and is unable to work, so she’s his caretaker as well as the sole provider for three teenagers. She works hard at her job, but even with promotions it’s become harder to make ends meet.

“We’re so grateful for any food we can get,” said Janeisha. “It all helps when you don’t have much.”

Not only did her family get a turkey, but also she found a much-needed coat that suited her daughter Ivory perfectly, from GPHC’s neighborhood coat drive.

Thank you Park Hill neighbors, on behalf of everyone who had a Thanksgiving meal because of you.

We are planning to provide food boxes in December as well. If you would like to donate hams or other holiday foods, toiletry baskets, or to adopt a family for toys or clothes, please contact Robyn ASAP at 303-388-0918 or email director@greaterparkhill.org. Please keep this generous spirit of giving strong for those in need.