The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
By Robert W. Wallace
PEORIA, Ill. (Nov. 28, 2013) — On this Thanksgiving Day, more than 150 American Red Cross workers remain on duty in Central Illinois, providing disaster relief services to those affected by the tornadoes that on Nov. 17 tore through this area.
When the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria learned that the Red Crossers would be missing their Thanksgiving Day dinner with friends and family, the church members immediately stepped forward.
“When the call went out to serve Thanksgiving Dinner to the Red Cross we had 10 members of our congregation come forward in the first hour to help,” said congregation member Maury Brucker. “Ultimately, we had many more people volunteer than the 25 or so we needed.”
Members of the congregation provided a tasty and colorful array of salads, side dishes and wonderful pies and cookies. Voluntary contributions were requested to defray the costs of other items.
“We received about three times more money in contributions than we needed,” said Brucker. “We plan to donate all the money left over from the cost of the dinner to the Red Cross.”
The menu for the Thanksgiving Day dinner included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, an abundance of salads and side dishes, and lots and lots of pies. The church members sent the Red Cross volunteers back to their hotel rooms with leftovers, including generous slabs of the delicious pies and heaping portions or turkey and dressing.
This night no one from Red Cross disaster relief went without a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner that was made even more special due to the outrageous hospitality of our hosts and the camaraderie of our Red Cross family.
At one point during the evening, the entire Red Cross crew stood and gave a standing ovation to show their appreciation to the church members for their wonderful gift on this day of thanks. We came together as strangers; we left as friends.