Macomb church seeking Thanksgiving food donations

By: Jeremy Selweski | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 6, 2013

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — With Thanksgiving just around the corner, a local congregation is helping hungry families put a delicious feast on the table.

“We want to give people something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said the Rev. Jason Huff, pastor at Church of the Covenant in Macomb Township. “We’re a small church, but we really want to feel like home for people and bring that feeling of community to this area.”

From Nov. 10-24, Church of the Covenant is asking its members and the public to donate Thanksgiving food items to help fill boxes for local families in need. Requests have been made for frozen turkeys from 8 to 14 pounds, boxed or bagged stuffing mixes, boxed or bagged potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, canned cranberry sauce, canned corn, canned green beans, canned cream soup, canned or bottled turkey gravy, and various pies. Collection of new and lightly used winter clothing, as well as toiletries, is also being taken at the same time.

According to church outreach elder Gary Cynowa, Church of the Covenant already has plenty of volunteers available to assemble and deliver the Thanksgiving food boxes, but there is no limit on the amount of food that it will collect. If there happens to be an over-abundance of any particular items, church leaders will simply donate them to other local congregations with a similar food program.

“If everyone can contribute just a little bit, then we will be able to feed a lot of hungry families for Thanksgiving,” Cynowa said. “We can only do so much, but we can at least give people one good meal to enjoy.”

Community donations may be dropped off at Church of the Covenant, 23401 23 Mile Road, Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Donations are also being collected at A Girl’s Dream Bridal Boutique, 47025 Gratiot Ave. in Chesterfield Township, Monday through Friday from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.

Food distribution will be made on Nov. 24 to as many hungry families as supplies allow. Recipients are encouraged to pick up their Thanksgiving boxes at Church of the Covenant, but home delivery can also be arranged for those who are unable to make it there on their own.

Many of the church’s referrals for families in need come from Hope Center in Macomb, a nonprofit organization and food pantry located in Fraser. Huff and Cynowa agreed that demand for food donations in the area has increased over the last few years, despite all the reported improvements in the national and local economy.

“A certain segment of the population has gotten back on track, but a lot of people on the poorer end have had a more difficult time,” Huff said. “We have only seen the need continue to grow in our community. So, anyone who asks, we’re going to do what we can to help them out.”

Added Cynowa, “There are a huge number of people in Macomb County right now who are requesting food assistance in some capacity. We believe that we have been called upon to serve others just as Christ did, and we feel like the best way for us to do that is to make sure they don’t go hungry.”

This is all part of Church of the Covenant’s larger mission. In addition to its Thanksgiving food drive, the church has a food pantry and hosts free community meal and movie nights each month. Cynowa noted that the latter program has grown tremendously since its inception two and a half years ago. During its first year, it served about 150 people, but so far in 2013, it has already served about 380.

According to Huff, “This is not just about receiving aid — it’s also about coming out and being part of the community. We’re really providing more than just food for these people. Hopefully, we’re giving them the things they need to get their life back on track. A lot of people are stuck in a cycle that they can’t get out of, and they just need a little push forward. We want to be able to give them that push.”

To request a box of Thanksgiving food or learn more about Church of the Covenant’s food donation programs, call Gary Cynowa at (586) 291-0399.