Annual Thanksgiving food drive helps Philadelphia families

Reverend John Brice, lead pastor of St. James United Methodist Church and proud Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 member, addresses the volunteers.
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The Sheet Metal Workers, Carpenters Union and City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker partnered with the oldest church in Olney, St. James United Methodist, to serve families who need a helping hand for the holiday.

“We know this time of year can be difficult for some of our neighbors, and as we work to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and address the pandemic’s heightening of many of our most pertinent social and economic issues, we wanted to spend the day helping families throughout the district,” Parker said. “This event brings people, communities, and local organizations together for a great cause, and I thank our partners for working with us to support our constituents.”

St. James has served the local Philly community in missions for over 205 years. This holiday season, the councilwoman and local unions are working with the church to address hunger in the community by giving away 250 turkeys and Thanksgiving sides gathered by the unions. Due to COVID-19, organizers set up time slots for pick-ups this year to encourage social distancing.

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“Every year we look forward to this event because it gives us the opportunity to give back to our community,” said Gary J. Masino, President and Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 19. “We knew that with all the challenges the pandemic has brought this year that this support would be more important than ever.”

“This food drive ensures that no matter what’s going on in the outside world, members of our community can spend time at the dinner table with their loved ones over a good meal, and that’s what’s most important,” Reverend John T. Brice added.

Reverend Brice is not only the Senior Pastor at St. James, but also a proud journeyman of Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 who graduated from his apprenticeship in March.

All day Saturday, union members distributed gift baskets full of canned and nonperishable goods to compliment the turkeys. String beans, corn, biscuits, candied yams, boxed stuffing, and boxed mashed potatoes were among the popular items, putting essential items on the tables of hundreds of families.

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