By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published November 26, 2009
More than 200 volunteers from St. Michael the Archangel Church gave families in Cherokee County a personally delivered Thanksgiving and the knowledge that people care about and support them.
On Saturday, Nov. 21, volunteers delivered over 300 baskets of food, including turkeys, pies, vegetables, butter, dinner rolls and other trimmings, to families and to various agencies serving those in need in the county who will give them to clients.
Chris Berens, parish Life Teen youth minister, has been leading the Thanksgiving basket ministry for 10 years, taking over the reins two years after the program started. It is something close to her heart, as she remembers her grandfather setting an example of giving for her when she was just a little girl growing up in the Chamblee area.
The seed planted then has blossomed as she invites youth to get involved with the St. Michael ministry. Teens raise the money to buy all of the turkeys by washing cars, holding a silent auction and donating money themselves.
But it isn’t just the teens who are involved, Berens said.
“This is a huge community outpouring.”
Through cold calls, help from the parish’s Hispanic ministry and assistance from the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Berens and the parish volunteers found no shortage of people needing help this year. To the homeless, to flood victims, to those affected by family violence, the caring hearts of the parish brought decorated baskets holding the traditional turkey, corn and green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and more.
And it’s especially the children who keep Berens and others coming back year after year.
“What keeps me here is the look on the child’s face,” said Berens. “It is truly the face of Christ. … It is better than any Christmas present.”