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Toledo churches aim to feed, uplift community this holiday season amid ongoing pandemic

The food is feeding the body and the soul at a time when people long to feel close while staying distant during the pandemic.

TOLEDO, Ohio — This Thanksgiving will perhaps feel pretty different for most of us. But churches around town are seeing to it, that no one is left unfed or without a full heart this season.

Though some churches may have shifted gears and gone completely virtual, they're still very much present in their community.

Dorinda Davis, a member of City of Zion, the Mt. Zion Church in south Toledo says the need is definitely there. 

"The thing that I appreciate about City of Zion is the understanding that the pandemic is affecting real people in real ways. Acknowledge that our mental health is an issue," Davis said. 

Whether it be through sermon, reaching out or providing food, senior pastor Talmadge Thomas said his church is making it a mission to mentally and physically feed its members.

"Well for many people this is their lifeline. We definitely know the benefit of spirituality in the life of everyday people and many people need that boost," Thomas said.

Usually, the church would host a Thanksgiving dinner the night before, but because of COVID-19, it has been cancelled.

Thomas said the church is instead partnering with other agencies to help families from a nearby school.

"When we volunteered for the food box giveaway, I think we gave away like 2,500 boxes of food. People were so grateful. You could just see how much it meant to them," Davis said. 

Norma Ramos-Prater, a volunteer working with the St Lucas Lutheran Church, dropped off canned goods and turkeys to the Latin United and Smart Bilingual School Academy.

"People are not working; when there used to be two people in the family working, maybe there's only one, and sometimes they're only working part-time," Ramos-Prater said. 

The food is feeding the body and the soul at a time when people long to feel close while staying distant during the pandemic.

"Even though it's gonna be a virtual Thanksgiving, a different type of holiday season, there's still hope in the holiday. Don't lose your joy, because joy is what's gonna get us through this," Thomas said.

Ramos-Prater said they're still looking for people to donate turkeys or Thanksgiving food. You can either reach out to her at 419-241-6816 or send her an email at nrprater@co.lucas.oh.us.