Community honors gratitude for Thanksgiving

By: Eric Czarnik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 15, 2012

WEST BLOOMFIELD — An attitude of gratitude is fueling school, business and religious efforts to feed the hungry and encourage togetherness during the season of Thanksgiving in West Bloomfield.

According to West Bloomfield School District spokeswoman Pam Zajac, several schools held generous charity events for the needy to mark the holiday.

Oakland Early College and Ealy, Doherty, Roosevelt and Gretchko elementary schools all held food drives. Sheiko Elementary held a winter-clothing drive to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims, school officials said.

In addition, Scotch Elementary School second-grade teacher Cathy Mintz said around 180 of her school’s second-graders were ready to sing songs and recite poems during a Nov. 20 Thanksgiving Thank You Show.

Although Mintz said the presentation doesn’t focus much on the history of the holiday; its purpose is to thank parents for everything they do on behalf of the school. The party was scheduled to end with a multicultural meal of ethnic foods provided by parents.

“Mostly it’s just for fun, and they’re learning their presentation skills and learning how to memorize a great deal of material,” Mintz said. “It’s just kind of a celebration of being thankful and being nice to each other.”

Business and religious institutions have also pitched in to help the needy.

In collaboration with sponsors and local businesses, Shepherd King Lutheran Church in West Bloomfield announced that it put together 120 Thanksgiving baskets for the needy.

According to the Rev. Tim Holzerland, the baskets were assigned to go to families of Head Start students in Farmington. The baskets contain items like turkeys, vegetables, potatoes, winter coats and book bags.

Holzerland said companies such as Five Guys Burger and Fries and Whole Foods Market helped donate items for the baskets in time for the holidays. He added that his church membership regularly gives supplies for the needy throughout the year.

“When we’re talking about the 3- and 4-year old children of Head Start, obviously in this time of year, it comes up more, and people seem to (give) more in various ways,” he explained.

At Temple Kol Ami, event organizer Dave Henig said the temple and the West Bloomfield Clergy Association would continue their tradition of offering an interfaith Thanksgiving service Nov. 21. He said roughly 65-70 worshippers have gathered in previous years for prayer, music and some readings.

“It’s one of the occasions,” Henig said. “Thanksgiving is pretty much secular. It’s not connected with any religious event, so it’s a secular occasion for the community to come together.”

Temple Kol Ami, 5085 Walnut Lake Road, will have its West Bloomfield Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21. A canned food drive will be held to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Learn more at (248) 661-0040.

Shepherd King Lutheran Church, 5300 W. Maple Road, in West Bloomfield, may be reached at or at (248) 626-2121.

Contact the West Bloomfield School District at or at (248) 865-6420.