WILMINGTON — If you drive down East Main Street toward Joe’s Java House, you’ll see local residents getting an extra serving of hope and help for Thanksgiving.
Since practically the beginning of their 20 years of service, on the day before Thanksgiving Sugartree Ministries’ Your Father’s Kitchen hands our turkeys and whole dinners.
If there’s one thing Alan Willoughby, Sugartree Ministries’ Director, is thankful for this year, it’s all the volunteers and donations they’ve received over the years. Among those helpers for the Thanksgiving giveaway are Clinton-Massie varsity football players.
“It’s great to see them step up and help,” said Willoughby.
Around four years ago Dan and Jodi Uetrecht, parents of one of the players, contacted Head Coach Dan McSurley asking if the team could help distribute the Thanksgiving food. McSurley thought it was a good idea, and they’ve been helping out since.
“I think it’s good to give back to the community,” said McSurley. “We’re all hands on deck for this.”
The Kitchen has provided a safe spot for less fortunate members of the community the last 20 years. They’ve provided food through a soup kitchen happening six days a week, and hand out groceries on one day.
According to Willoughby, they’ve provided food for around 100 families. They also have a recovery program on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help those with addiction.
“It’s always been built on need,” said Willoughby, “We started off with two chapels, but we didn’t want a church name on it since we wanted it to involve many denominations.”
Now with more than 30 churches involved with helping with the dinners and food donations from the community, they never fall short on food.
“We’ve never not had food,” said Willoughby. “We promised God a long time ago we would never go to the government or different places to obtain our food. He just tends puts it in the hearts of the community and they just keep bringing food.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574