New Life Ministries cancels holiday tradition, but Park UMC invites community to monthly dinner

| November 21, 2013

COSHOCTON – Community members who donated their time in past years to holiday dinners organized by New Life Ministries are welcome to pitch in at Park United Methodist Church.

Park UMC hosts a community meal the fourth Wednesday of every month and they are expecting a big crowd this month since the date falls close to Thanksgiving.

“There will be turkey and all the trimmings, plus pie for dessert,” said Pastor Jeremy Roseberry. “Anyone in the community is welcome to join us.”

The dinner will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the church which is located at 122 Park Ave. Volunteers to help work the dinner and donations of food are welcome.

“We are always looking for volunteers to help us, especially this month because I know the people in charge are worried we will have more people than we usually do attend the dinner,” Roseberry said.

To inquire about helping with the dinner, call Park UMC at 622-0821 or stop by the church office at 122 Park Ave. Someone is typically in the office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and sometimes on Wednesdays.

Pastor Mark Granger from New Life Ministries also hopes people will look out for their families, friends and neighbors this holiday season.

“This year, be your brother’s keeper,” he said. “If you know your neighbor is not going to have a hot meal, have them to your house or take them something to eat.”

New Life Ministries hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for 12 years, but Granger felt it was time to focus solely on the church’s food pantry.

“When we started, most of my helpers were in their late 60s and early 70s,” Granger said. “A lot of them are now sick, a lot are real tired and some have died. We also don’t have the people to cook anymore. I had one lady who baked 36 pies for both meals.”

The cost of putting on the meal also increased.

“It was $2,300 last year just for the styrofoam and this year it was going to cost $3,000,” Granger said. “It costs $6,000 a month just to run our food pantry and more people are losing food stamps or getting them cut back. Sometimes you have to pick and choose where your funds go.”

He appreciates everyone who has helped out with the dinners over the years and hopes more people will volunteer in the community.

“If you ask anybody in town their volunteers are older,” Granger said. “Younger people in their 20s to 40s are either doing nothing or working two jobs to make it. People need to step up and volunteer because organizations don’t have the help they need.”

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I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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