HAZEL PARK — Thanksgiving has come and gone, but one church is still giving thanks to the community for its generosity.
CityEdge Church collected so many donations from Hazel Park residents that church members were able to assemble 60 Thanksgiving meals for neighbors in need — more than triple the 18 made last year.
This is the program’s second year. CityEdge was aiming to at least double their previous numbers, but Pastor Craig Brundage didn’t want to limit the good they can do.
“We were amazed by some of the things brought to us, and the way God provided for those needs,” Brundage said. “When we were just at the end of the numbers we thought we’d deliver, we got another couple names of families in need, and we thought we were over our number, or that we had to cut it off somewhere. But we talked and realized this is what God brought us, so we had to have faith he would provide.
“A half-hour from that decision, when we accepted the two final families, someone called us and gave us a check for $250, and then 10 or 15 minutes later, someone else I bumped into earlier gave us another $60,” Brundage said. “We felt we couldn’t do it on our own, but we knew if God brought these people to us, he’d provide a way to feed them … and show himself to be real and involved in this project.”
Lisa Allen of Hazel Park, one of the project coordinators, was ecstatic.
“Oh my gosh, it’s just unbelievable,” Allen said. “I was floored by what was given in food and monetary donations. Incredible — just incredible.”
Those in need applied at the Hazel Park Memorial Library, where many food items were also collected. Larger families received baskets full of all the necessary ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, plus a cookbook with instructions on how to prepare them. Individuals and smaller groups received platters that were already cooked and good to go, with enough food to last them multiple meals.
The baskets were packed full of goods, including turkey, stuffing, chicken broth, boxed potato meals, Jell-O, pudding, egg noodles, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, everything needed for green bean casserole, and more.
A number of businesses helped by discounting or supplying goods: Park Liquor, House of Beer, Country Boy Restaurant and Kroger in Hazel Park. Library staff, in addition to collecting goods, also helped prepare the platters. Volunteers from United Methodist in Hazel Park contributed, as well.
CityEdge, whose motto is “No perfect people allowed,” was established last April when they started having Bible studies in the backyard of Lyle Hayman, the co-founder with Brundage. Last September, they started meeting at the Methodist church.
CityEdge is a nondenominational Christian community, an outreach church focused on serving others. They’ve been painting playground equipment in city parks, and also renovated the game room in the recreation center. They facilitate a teen drop-in there every fourth Friday of the month. They also helped save the patio project at the library.
The Thanksgiving baskets are just one more way the CityEdge members work with the community to help others.
“It was amazing to see the amount of food and donations that came in,” said Jody Jones, of Warren, another coordinator on the basket project. “Especially when we were preparing the platters; at first we thought we’d need to stretch, but we said, ‘No, have faith,’ and every single one of those platters had more than enough food to feed them that day and for two or three days after.
“If you do not limit what you will do, God will always provide,” Jones said. “Having that faith is what allowed us to provide all this food.”
CityEdge Church meets at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday nights in the lower level of Hazel Park Methodist at 315 E. Nine Mile, across the street from the library. For more information, call (248) 765-4361 or visit www.thecityedge.org.