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Greensburg fundraiser nourishes mind, body, spirit

The Greensburg community is nourishing Feeding the Spirit.

The community dinners, held every Thursday evening in the fellowship hall of Otterbein United Methodist Church, have grown since their debut to offer nourishment to the mind, body and spirit.

"At the first meal in November, there were 30 people who came. Now there are about 80 to 90 people every week," said Deborah Thachrah, the founder of Feeding the Spirit.

On March 23, the nonprofit group received a $1,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County.

Its board and volunteers are planning a fundraiser for next month.

Thackrah started the weekly dinners at the College Avenue church after changing her jogging route early one morning and seeing homeless people during her run, she said. Local restaurants donate the repasts for people in need of a hot meal or just some companionship.

"We always have enough room and we always have enough food," Thackrah said. "I knew this community had a lot of heart. Everybody needs to feel important, and we do that one hour a week, but I know it lasts longer."

Along with food, there is a table of goods for people to help themselves to items they might need. There is donated pet food, cleaning supplies and clothing. At times, it includes lamps, wall decorations and throw rugs. Men's clothing, in sizes large and extra large, is needed, along with personal hygiene products.

Eventually, Thackrah hopes to have a permanent home for the nonprofit. For now, she is thankful for the hospitality of Pastor Amy Twigg and the generosity of many others.

The board of directors and volunteers of Feeding the Spirit are planning the year's major fundraiser, to be held May 19 at Bar Rizzi in Crabtree. They are collecting product and service donations to be included in the Chinese and silent auctions. Excela Health has donated $1,000.

"My thing is that a person has to give back and be involved in the community in some way if you can, and this one is the most rewarding to me," said Pam Frank, one of the volunteers helping to prepare for the upcoming event.

Feeding the Spirit welcomes its visitors between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Donations to the nonprofit agency can be sent to 611 Southwest Ave., Greensburg, PA 15601. Thackrah can be emailed at Deb2run@verizon.net .

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