Hurlock churches provide Christmas dinner for needy families

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Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
The Parks Family Christmas 2015 was a special event. Rather than give gifts to each other they agreed to donate food to St. Andrews Episcopal Church food bank in Hurlock. To honor their deceased parents the six Parks children plus their children and grandchildren surprised Fr. Bryan Glancey with their donation.

HURLOCK — Hurlock resident Barbara Hooper comes from a large family. One of six, she says Christmas dinner for her family totals 37 and is sure to increase as children and grandchildren grow up. This year she decided to do something different – something, she says, that would have made her now deceased parents “proud.”

“I heard on the radio about a guy who was giving a Christian Christmas concert for no charge. All he asked was for people to bring food or a clothing item for the homeless shelter. And I was like ‘Oh, my gosh! We have a huge family. Why don’t we do something like that?’ She talked to pastor Jeff Phillips of the Hurlock Wesleyan Church about it and says he thought it was an “awesome idea.” She then asked her siblings what they thought about donating a can or bag of food to the food bank at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Hurlock instead of buying gifts for the family.

She says, “I told my nieces and nephews and my own kids who have kids and asked them to be a part of it. I wanted them to pick out the food or somehow be a part of it so they can get the real picture. Our Christmas dinner is huge. We always have more than enough food. People take food home for leftovers and I said ‘you know there are people that don’t have.’ I want our grandkids to understand that they have a great life.”

Ms. Hooper says the family always celebrates Christmas after Dec. 25 because “the kids have to go to in-laws or over the bridge; so we decided to hold ours in January.”
Everyone brought food on the day of the party. Ms. Hooper and other family members brought the donations to Fr. Bryan Glancey at the Episcopal Church.

For several years a food pantry at St. Andrews Episcopal Mission Church, spearheaded by Fr. Glancey and staffed by volunteers, has fed the unemployed, the recently laid off, and many working poor.

In a previous interview with the Banner, Fr. Glancey said that for the first six months of last year, 8,000 people came to the Food Bank. “Each person gets about 4-5 meals so that was 40,000 meals.” In 2015, the food pantry offered over a ton of food every week to help 150-170 families.

The Parks family contribution was a big help. “We had 309 items,” explains Ms. Hooper. “I was totally blown away by all of that. I asked for one item or a bagful if possible. Obviously they brought a bagful. I really wanted it to be a surprise for Fr. Glancey. It was! He said it was really great.”

Noting that both St. Andrews Episcopal and Hurlock Wesleyan churches have small congregations, Ms. Hooper said she was eager to combine resources to serve the greater good. “Both of us are so small you feel sometimes that there’s not a lot you can do by yourself. But when you partner with another church and help them then that’s really what it’s about. So, our church partners with the Episcopal Church where people from our church bring food that Charlotte (Vickers) and Ann (Parks) bring to Fr. Glancey’s church to distribute on Wednesdays. If we don’t have enough food or if we have extra money then we give them money to purchase the food through the MD Food Bank.”

There’s no doubt where these folks stand on the meaning of Christmas.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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