500 turkeys to go to families in need

November 19, 2008

By Monique Vague

The holiday season is almost here, but some families are feeling the pressure of creating a Thanksgiving meal during tough economic times.  In an effort to help struggling families and give back to the community, Eastridge Christian Assembly will give away 500 turkeys to people in need from 9 a.m. – noon Nov. 22 in their new Issaquah parking lot.

“We’re trying to reach out with a helping hand to our community,” Senior Pastor Steve Jamison said.  “It’s just an expression of love from our church to the community.” 

The annual event will celebrate its sixth year of helping families in need and will give the turkeys on a first come, first served basis.  

Those who come will also receive a bag of groceries, donated by Albertson’s, filled with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal, including stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes and rolls.  

“We want to help them have a happy Thanksgiving,” church member and volunteer Chris Emmett said.  

The church is not requiring any proof of need to get a turkey. Jamison said in the past people have brought their bills and proof of debt, but he said the church doesn’t need evidence and doesn’t want to embarrass anyone.  

“We try to respect the dignity of all the community,” he said.  “We would rather give them our generosity than put them on the spot.” 

Emmett said her favorite part of volunteering for the giveaway is seeing the reactions of those who come. 

“They are so excited to see there is help and that they don’t have to prove their need,” she said. “They’ve found a place where they are safe and we’re making a difference in people’s lives.”    

Jamison said he understands that because of the problems with the economy, this Thanksgiving is going to be difficult for more families than in previous years and he hopes no one will take advantage of the church’s generosity.  

One year, Jamison had a complaint from someone watching the event when they saw a person take a turkey and groceries and then drive away in a BMW. While he didn’t know the circumstances of the BMW driver, he wants the community to know that some of those people don’t take these turkeys for themselves, but actually deliver them to others in need. 

“Sometimes, Santa Claus delivers in a BMW,” he said. 

Those wishing to volunteer are welcome to help with the giveaway even if they are not associated with the church. Emmett said volunteers are needed to help bag groceries, carry bags to cars, and greet people and show they care. 

“It’s a wonderful event to get children involved with,” she said. “There are so many people in the community who need to know someone cares.” 

The church is at 24105 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road. To volunteer, call 392-3253. 

MONIQUE VAGUE is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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