CLEVELAND - It’s one thing to have the family over for Thanksgiving dinner, but St. Augustine Hunger Center is getting ready to serve thousands of families Thursday.
The tremendous giving is made possible by the generosity of others.
The turkey carving contest kicks off the Thanksgiving season at St. Augustine Hunger Center on Cleveland’s west side each year. The contestants don't need to carve the bird the best -- just the fastest.
Art Elk, of Elk and Elk Law Firm, is usually second to his brother David. But, this year, he won bragging rights.
The fun, spirited competition highlights the serious side of serving others.
"The winner gets the ability to be here and see happy faces and people who deserve so much and finally get a little bit of holiday time," David Elk said.
Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman said residents are blessed to have St. Augustine in Tremont.
"There is no closer to the gospel you can get in Cleveland than where we are standing right now,” he added.
The task at hand is great, as is the need. St. Augustine estimates it will serve 18,000 people this Thanksgiving.
Sister Corita Ambro coordinates the Hunger Center at St. Augustine. She said 8,500 dinners will be delivered to shut-ins and distributed at 22 other area hunger centers.
"Our requests are much larger than they have been. I think it's due to the baby boomers --believe it or not - because we have over 1,000 extra seniors that we will be delivering to this year than we did last year,” Sister Ambro said.
While most people worry about making one turkey, Brian Galaska made 1,200 turkeys at St. Augustine.
"It just gives me great satisfaction knowing that people are able to eat because everybody deserves a nice, warm meal on Thanksgiving," Galaska said.
Those at Saint Augustine are grateful to those who willingly serve and willingly give. Thanksgiving is a special day, but they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to the needy every day of the year.