‘Friends of the Cape’ distribute Thanksgiving meals
A group of three gentlemen, known as Friends of the Cape, gathered enough Thanksgiving dinners to pass out to 100 people at Vineyard Community Church Wednesday afternoon.
Karen Hallett was one of the many individuals who received a free Thanksgiving dinner. She is among one the thousands of people who have been affected by the downturn in the economy. She lost her job as an accountant two and a half years ago and recently lost her home of 18 years.
“When you lose your job, you can’t pay your mortgage,” she said.
She received two 2-liter bottles of soda, cans of green beans and corn, Stove Top stuffing, cupcakes, potatoes, a 12- to 15-pound turkey, gravy and bread. Hallett said receiving the food means that she will have Thanksgiving dinner for herself and her five roommates.
“It’s incredible,” Hallett explained about people’s generosity. “This church is saving people’s lives. Places like this gives you hope.”
Another Cape Coral family stumbled across the free Thanksgiving dinner when they ran out of gas a few blocks from Vineyard Community Church. The parents said they saw many people walk towards the church, so they decided to follow and were pleasantly surprised when they found out they were passing out Thanksgiving dinners. They said smiling that now they would be able to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner.
The afternoon of giving was possible, due to the vision Jim Purin, Tom Vana and Kurt Earlywine. They got together last week and decided they wanted to feed 20 individuals for Thanksgiving. That vision continued to grow over the next three days to 100 Thanksgiving dinners once they started receiving donations from local businesses.
“It’s heartfelt fun is what it is,” Purin said.
Earlywine said they are trying to take care of people in the Cape.
Over the past few years, Purin held a Thanksgiving dinner at the Elk’s Lodge where he fed a couple hundred people. This year he was not able to continue his tradition, so he was excited when he was able to help the community at a different location.
Although it was challenging to pull it together in three days, they said it was well worth it.
Don Gregory, who helped pass out the many Thanksgiving dinners, said he thinks it is fantastic that they were able to provide food to others. He said that it made him feel good to know he was able to help others.
“It’s a good feeling at heart,” Gregory said.
After 30 minutes, all of the 100 Thanksgiving dinners were handed out to a full room of families.
“It was fabulous,” Earlywine said, adding that he saw “a lot of smiling faces.”
Vana said it was nice to see that if individuals did not want a specific food, they gave it back for others to take.
“They weren’t greedy,” he said.
The first 50 people who were provided with their Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday afternoon were placed on a list to guarantee they would receive the meal. The last 50 people who were given the dinner, Earlywine said walked into the church off the street.
“We are going to continue this,” Purin said, adding that the community will see more of them.
Friends of the Cape will hold a similar event around Christmas.