Warren volunteers spread Thanksgiving joy

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An army of volunteers converged on the St. Thomas the Apostle church basement Thursday morning, giving up part of their own Thanksgiving to make the holiday better for those in need.

The volunteers, more than 100 of them, prepared and bagged nearly 250 full turkey dinners for delivery to needy families and shut-ins across the East Bay and beyond. Hundreds went to Barrington, Bristol, Warren and East Providence, and many more went further. Fifty-one dinners went to Central Falls.

“A lot of dinners this year,” said Judy Fardig, who helps organize the yearly dinner drive as president of Warren Unit 11, American Legion. “There’s a lot of need.”

This year, American Legion volunteers were assisted by members of American Legion Post #104 of Warren, the Warren Association of Vietnam Veterans, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association/Rhode Island Chapter.

“We have been delivering and serving more and meals meals in each of the past few years, probably because of the economy. Now, with the food stamp cuts, things out there are even worse,” Ms. Fardig said.

Just after 11 a.m., the church basement was bustling with more than 100 volunteers. Some worked the turkey station, others handed out large aluminum travel trays and others set up hundreds of brown paper bags. Outside, a steady stream of cars came in, loaded up and left, all driven by volunteers.

“We do this every year,” said volunteer Darcy DaCosta. “And Christmas too.”

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Jim McGaw

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.