Letter: Many more served — a bittersweet milestone for comfort (and turkey) givers in Warren

To the editor:
A salute goes out to the small army of volunteers who put together 230 meals this Thanksgiving in Warren– the most in the 25-year history of the holiday meals program.
It was a special, wonderful day. But we wish we were serving fewer meals on Thanksgiving, instead of more. The record number of meals is, unfortunately, a sign of how tough the economic conditions are for so many families.
A total of 217 meals were prepared and delivered from St. Thomas the Apostle Church to the homebound, elderly and needy in Warren, Barrington, Bristol, Riverside, and to a housing complex in Central Falls.
Another 23 meals were served in the church hall to those who otherwise might have eaten alone on the holiday, and to volunteers who stayed behind to help with some of the cleanup.
As president of Warren Unit #11 of the American Auxiliary, I’m proud that the Auxiliary once again played the lead role in organizing the annual Thanksgiving meals program.
Our unsung heroes this year were the volunteers who helped prepare and deliver the meals. Thankfully in this record year for meals, we also had a record number of volunteers – more than 100.
Along with the long list of individual volunteers, we were also aided by American Legion Post 104 of Warren, the Warren Association of Vietnam Veterans, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
We need to give special recognition to Father Abreu, the pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle Church and his parishioners for their continued support for this very special community endeavor.
And salutes go to the patrons of the Market Street Pub who donated 49 turkeys, and to Balasco’s Pizza, whose ovens cooked half those turkeys. Balasco’s also made apple crisp dessert for the 230 meals. Gold Medal bakery also deserves a salute for its donation of 20 dozen dinner rolls. Students of Hugh Cole School deserve thanks for baking and donating loaves of corn bread to be included in the meals. Jan Martin’s food program donated 100 pounds of squash and 300 pounds of potatoes. Johnson’s roadside farm stand also gets a pat on the back for peeling the squash and cutting it for cooking.
East Bay Newspapers group was critical in bringing volunteers aboard, through publicizing the meals program in advance.
We also received donations of foodstuffs – and some financial donations over and above our budget – which we used to make food baskets, each complete with a turkey.
In all, a real community effort of the highest order.
The work is not done, however. We will gather again late Christmas morning to prepare and deliver Christmas dinners. (No meals will be served in the hall Christmas Day.)
Judy Fardig
17 Milwaukee Ave.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.