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'Hands Across Columbus' seeks volunteers, support for holiday ministry

 

Volunteers, from left, Matt Phillips, Kevin Mims and Donnie Lawler brave the cold at the 2011 Hands Across Columbus event to cook vegetables for the holiday meal outreach program.

Volunteers, from left, Matt Phillips, Kevin Mims and Donnie Lawler brave the cold at the 2011 Hands Across Columbus event to cook vegetables for the holiday meal outreach program. Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

Jan Swoope

 

Liz and Brett Robinson of Columbus know that, for some, the holidays are short on joy. It's one of the reasons they founded "Hands Across Columbus" five years ago. The non-profit organization's aim is to reach out to areas in the city Dec. 15 with a meal and willing hearts and hands. 

 

"The idea is very simple: We take traditional Christmas meals out into the community and give them away," said Liz Robinson. "There's no catch; we're just bringing them some free Christmas food. Our aim is not to just sit around wishing we could brighten someone's holiday, but to actually take action." 

 

Since the hands-on grassroots ministry called Celebration of Hope began in 2007, thousands of recipients have enjoyed a delivered meal and the spirit of generosity with which its given. And hundreds have volunteered to gather, cook and take the meals into lower income neighborhoods. 

 

After moving to Columbus in 2006, the Robinsons were inspired to organize volunteers to serve a pre-Christmas meal at a local church for about 100 children and their families.  

 

The outreach gained a groundswell of support from churches, civic groups and individuals and moved meal preparation to Hunt Intermediate School. By 2010, 1,200 meals were prepared and distributed in designated areas of the city. The output has increased each year  

 

 

 

How to help 

 

The overall goal for 2012 is to serve a minimum of 4,000 meals. The need now is for food to distribute. The menu is simple: ham, canned green beans and corn, and rolls. 

 

Organizers are asking for donations of Kroger gift cards to go toward the purchase of the hams.  

 

"And we're asking for volunteers to prepare food for pickup -- or delivery if you are willing and able -- on Dec. 15," said Robinson. "In whatever capacity you choose to contribute, rest assured we could use your help. I know from first-hand experience that you'll be blessed." 

 

To find out more about contributing or volunteering to "Hands Across Columbus," contact Robinson at 662-425-5886.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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