12/20/10 — Church prepares 125 boxes for families

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Church prepares 125 boxes for families

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 20, 2010 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- More than 100 area families will be able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner thanks to the efforts of Area Churches in Action (ACIA) and Helping Hands United Missions.

The annual distribution of boxes containing all the fixings for the meal is so popular and well-known that organizers are called before they can even get started, said Lula Newkirk, founder of Helping Hands United Missions.

"It is pretty much spread by word of mouth," she said. "We use a screening application. It has been very much successful. We started registration Tuesday (Dec. 7) and they have been coming in and signing up. We will continue that this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 4."

Last year 106 boxes of food were distributed. Each box will include a turkey, box of dressing, rice, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas and a variety of canned foods and bread.

"We may go over 125 (boxes) this year," she said. "We have already registered 95. Of course I could stop it at any point, but we don't want to turn away anybody who has expressed a need. This is a tough time now."

The food giveaway originally was handled through Area Churches in Action (ACIA) and put together at the First United Methodist Church. However, several years ago Helping Hands became the host site for the ACIA food pantry and assumed the leadership role for the project.

"That is how we got connected," Mrs. Newkirk said. "We collect food all year long. We have started sorting food as it comes in. We started putting it in different categories has it comes in. We are preparing for over 100 boxes."

"We are supposed to pick up the turkeys on the 17, but we actually won't put them in the boxes until the day that we distribute which will be the 22nd," she said. "This year Butterball has called and said they would donate the turkeys. This is the first year we have had them to call."

Members of Helping Hands United Missions and volunteers have been busy sorting food items in preparation of packing the boxes, which they did over the weekend.

The boxes may be picked up between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 22.

People interested in making donations should call 658-9642 or go by Helping Hands United Missions at 113 Smith St.