Operation Turkey Sandwich: Jesus loves you and makes a great sandwich!

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

Operation Turkey Sandwich at Church of the Holy Cross

Thanks to the Rev. Marsue Harris of Holy Cross for letting us know about this ministry and supplying the information for the article.

Bishop Knisely’s Thanksgiving Message 2018

As the year begins to draw to an end and the secular holiday season is beginning, this is a wonderful moment to take time to reflect on what God is doing in the world around us. The glorious autumn leaves are pretty much gone by now, the trees having shed them in preparation for the New England winter season that is just about here. Between prepping the yard and house for winter, we’ve been hauling out the winter clothes from storage and putting away our summer things.
Because this is a yearly ritual for us, the miraculous nature of the changing seasons goes unnoticed for the most part. In the dark and cold, in the desolation and deathlike sleep of a winter woods, none of us loses heart; we know that spring is coming. We know it because we have seen it. We have learned to believe in rebirth and new life.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to welcome the dark and the cold knowing that it is preparing the world for the bursting forth of new growth and renewal that will be winter’s concluding moments.

As we gather around our feasting tables, and as we give thanks for the fruits of this past year, recognize that the holidays, and the dark long nights that are part of that will come to an end soon enough. We have seen it before.

And then, I hope you might remember that this yearly cycle of darkness and light, death and renewal, winter and spring, is a reminder that this is true in our lives and in our history as well. We have seen hard moments and we have seen renewal. We have seen them in our congregations, in our communities and in our own lives. The darkness ends in the dawn. Our family feasts this Thanksgiving are a testimony to that truth.

We enter the season of Advent, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer. But just as happens every year, in four short weeks — for those who are paying attention — as the cycle is reversed and the light grows stronger, we remember that God entered the world in the form of a small child whose life forever changed the course of history.

And so we feast as the days grow colder and the darkness grows. Because we are people who know, because we have seen it, that the darkness heralds the dawn and that winter will bring the springtime.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks be to God!