A few months ago the Church of the Holy Cross leadership were approached by a family that has been attending for almost a year to discuss an outreach idea. The Klampert family had pastored another church previously where they started Operation: Turkey Sandwich.
For the last five years, the Klampert family, along with their previous church, other congregations, friends, and volunteers, handed out meals to those who were working on Thanksgiving Day on Aquidneck Island. The vision was simply to meet a need that wasn’t as clearly defined as other outreaches. This was designed to show people that they were not invisible, that Jesus loved them, and that people put together a meal just so they could smile and have hope.
Over the previous five years the Operation Turkey Sandwich (OTS) team has handed out over 1600 meals and have had close to 400 volunteers. This sixth year it was brought to the wonderful people of the Church of the Holy Cross, and it was such a powerful year. The parishioners volunteered to bake brownies and cookies, and to make sandwiches and pack bags. On Thanksgiving morning, a group of 12 set up to deliver 176 meals. They drove in a caravan from business to business and then finished up with the police and fire departments.
As with other years, there were people expecting them as they told their co-workers “The turkey sandwich team is coming . . . we don’t need lunch!” They were met with smiles and joy. Their visit was a nice break in peoples’ work day and a warm blessing in this tumultuous world.
There were many who were introduced to OTS for the first time, and of course they were surprised and elated. The team got a round of hugs from one CVS worker and the spirit of God was contagious!
The OTS team visited a hotel that is known for renting to people who just can’t afford to rent an apartment. The hotel worker was handed 25 meals to give to every room and then she informed the team that just five minutes before they’d arrived, her cash register had been robbed. “Thank you! This is amazing and my day has been so hard . . . we were just robbed and the police have the man in the car . . . this makes my day better . . . they recovered the money . . . I was worried. I’m responsible if it’s lost . . . but the cops got here in one minute. I was shaking . . . thank you so much!! This is so nice!!!”
As the leadership at Holy Cross explained, Christ is our promise that there is NO place that God is not. This is the simple message they share when handing out a turkey sandwich. As Christians we are the place where heaven and earth meet. We have the mandate to remind people that Emmanuel God is with us, even when we are convinced God is not. Sometimes the abundant love of God is best expressed through the hands that are giving out goodies to people working on Thanksgiving.
For more information: https://Facebook.com/operationturkeysandwich
Thanks to the Rev. Marsue Harris of Holy Cross for letting us know about this ministry and supplying the information for the article.