Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 23, 2012

Extending a hand is the reason for the season


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---- — Every year, it seems, more and more individuals and groups across northern Michigan find a way to reach out to the poor, the sick and the homeless to help them through the holidays. This year is no exception.

In Traverse City, the Community Meals Program is the granddaddy of them all. The program, which calls Trinity Lutheran Church on South Maple home, served its 24th Community Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday; longtime organizer Sandra Svec said the program expected to serve more than 1,000 dinners this year. While many of the meals are taken at the church, volunteers deliver hundreds more to elderly residents and those who can't get out.

Volunteering for the program — to help in the kitchen or to set up or wait on tables or to deliver meals — has become a major tradition for some, with whole families often getting involved. For them, that's what Thanksgiving is all about — giving thanks by helping others. It's a great start to the holiday season and a wonderful way for a family or group of friends to celebrate their good fortune.

Traverse City hardly has a lock on outreach to those who need help; dinners were planned across the region.

n Bear Lake United Methodist Church was to host a free Thanksgiving dinner Thursday open to all.

n The Gaylord community was invited to dinner at St. Mary's Cathedral Parish Hall, complete with appetizers and then the meal.

n Grawn United Methodist Church invited the community to dinner at the church on West Silver Lake Road.

If the meaning of the season is giving, a lot of people around here get it.