Center for Creative Education’s Spread Love Thanksgiving Event in Kingston helps those in need – Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, NY — The Center for Creative Education’s third annual Spread Love Thanksgiving event offered holiday cheer to anyone who stopped by Thursday.

The event, which took place outside the center’s headquarters at RUPCO’s Energy Square on Cedar Street, featured free takeaway meals featuring Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, apple and pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes and free vegetables. In addition, Gregory McCollough’s Beyond the 4 Walls Outreach program had everything from gloves and shoes to winter coats.

Everything was shared on a no-questions-asked basis.

A DJ playing inspirational and uplifting tunes contributed to an atmosphere where gratefulness bounded among both the volunteers and those they served.

Bryant “Drew” Andrews, the center’s executive director, said his organization working with People’s Place, Community Action and many other organizations, was able to arrange for 1,500 meals for those in need. The meals were distributed not only to those who showed up but also via delivery.

The meals were prepared at several area churches in the days leading up to the event, Andrews said. He added that Thanksgiving can be a very lonely day.

“We did it on this day because we are a community and we come together for the community, not only today but all year long,” he said. “It’s a community effort. If everyone does a little then we get a lot.”

Andrews said even on a busy holiday, he’s found more and more people want to be part of serving their communities.

“People want to spend more time sharing and showing gratitude,” Andrews said. “Because we’re all blessed in this space, we’re blessed to have community, we’re blessed to help those who may need some extra help. Everyone wants to pitch in.”

Beyond the 4 Walls Founder and Executive Director Gregory McCollough said his organization sees the greatest demand for coats and it had about 400 coats to distribute.

McCollough said he believes in a mindset of just giving to anyone who needs things. All too often, he added, those in need get bogged down in things like income verification for social services.

“You can wait 35-40 days for services and you can still get denied,” he said. “People are in need and we’ll help them now, and ask questions later if it even comes to that.”

Also helping Beyond the 4 Walls was Eric Rowles, of Kingston. He said he buys storage lockers and helped to bring a truck with more coats and some household items that were moving fast.

Barbara McClinton was in her second year of helping at the event. She said her children are all over 21, so she traded a traditional family-based Thanksgiving for helping the larger community.

“When I spend all day giving, I live with gratitude,” she said. “I can help a kid who needs something to wear or an adult who needs underwear.”

Over at the turkey dinner table Joe, Alicia and Mia McDonald were helping to hand out meals. Joe McDonald said he and Alicia work with CCE’s My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program. He added that their mentees came out to pitch in.

“We’ve done it in the past a couple of churches,” Alicia McDonald said. “I go to River of Life Church, and I also volunteered there last weekend.”

Said Joe McDonald, “It’s good to give back to help others who are not as fortunate.”

At the next table, Chris Bergeron, owner of Peace Love Vintage in the Rondout Area, and her, husband Mike Bergeron, who works for UPS, and volunteers at People Place were helping to hand out the pie and desserts. The couple has lived in the area for three years, and she said she’s always wanted to get involved in more charitable events.

“I’m excited to get involved,” Chris Bergeron said. “In Kingston, everyone is so loving and wants to give back. I love that vibe.”

Photos: Spread Love Thanksgiving event in Kingston

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button