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Armstrong groups serve food for the soul

| Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Hundreds of families throughout the county who might otherwise have gone hungry this Thanksgiving are sitting down to a turkey dinner because of the efforts of community groups, agencies and individuals.

Jennie Morgan, a parishioner of Ford Memorial United Methodist Church in Ford City, was taking reservations as late as Wednesday afternoon for Thursday's free seventh annual Thanksgiving Day meal.

Parishioners have been busy this holiday season baking, cooking and preparing meals to serve guests from noon to 1 p.m., she said.

“We look forward to it each year,” said Morgan.

She said Penn United Corporation in Saxonburg donated the turkeys, and parishioners baked pies and provided all the side dishes.

The church, at 1024 Fourth Ave., usually stops taking reservations a week before Thanksgiving Day, said Morgan. But this year, because of the tough economy, they decided to extend the cut-off all the way up through to Thanksgiving.

Armstrong County Community Action distributed food vouchers to families last week. The agency, which oversees all the area food banks, serves 1,899 families countywide.

Kim Pivetta, development director, said it takes approximately $25,000 to feed families throughout the holiday season. And because of recent budget cuts, the agency now has to rely more and more on public donations to help cover the cost.

Much of this year's Thanksgiving Day vouchers were funded through the generosity of the public, said Pivetta.

“We front the money. All donations from the public — every dime that comes in marked for turkey vouchers — goes out to area families,” she said.

So far, the agency has collected less than half the amount needed, she said.

She said cash donations are the best way to give since the agency purchases through the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, which allows for greater purchasing power.

In Kittanning, Salvation Army Lieutenants Jason and Amber Imhoff, distributed a combination of 40 turkeys and hams to families on Tuesday.

Many of those families are struggling financially but might not meet the income requirements for assistance through community action, said Lt. Amber Imhoff.

“We fill that gap in our community,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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