Each year, our church takes part in one of the most rewarding ministries. With the help of many from the congregation and our partners at the Bethany Lutheran Church, we work together to provide hundreds of Thanksgiving meals for the homeless, lonely and homebound community members in our area.
Check out the below for answers to some frequently asked questions about this powerful ministry and how to get involved!
Meal Preparation and Deliveries
- The delivery portion of the meal will be held at our church (Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church) in Asbury Center. So if you’re signing up to deliver a meal, you’ll report to our church and NOT Bethany Lutheran.
- We need late shift delivery people — 5 to 10 drivers — who can start at 3 pm
- Kitchen Help at MLUMC Needed!!! Preparation and Cleanup!
- The dine-in portion of the meal will be held, as usual, at Bethany Lutheran Church on West Liberty (just down the road from our church). The meal runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24.
Q. What time should I arrive at MLUMC to help with the Meal Preparation?
A. You can arrive anytime between 9 am to 5 pm. We need help with all aspects of the meal preparation and clean up. If you are waiting to do a delivery and want to pitch in, please report to the kitchen! We would love your help with the many aspects of meal preparation and distribution. You do not have to stay for the entire day!
Q: Where is Bethany Lutheran Church?
A: Bethany Lutheran Church, 3104 West Liberty Avenue in Dormont (stone building with a red door). Dine in or takeout. There is no charge. Meals are served between 1 and 5 pm.
Q: What time should I arrive at MLUMC to make a delivery on Thanksgiving Day?
A: Deliveries begin at 1 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. Typically, many people show up at 1, so, to avoid a crowd, you may want to wait a bit and come at 1:30 or later. Also, if you have a GPS unit, bring it.
Q. Will you provide documentation for Community Service?
A. Yes! We would be happy to sign any documentation you bring or provide documentation on church letterhead.
Q: I know someone who could use a free meal. What should I do?
A: Call the Mt. Lebanon church office at 412.531.7131 and give the secretary the person’s name, address (including ZIP code), and telephone number. We do not screen any of our clients. In other words, you don’t have to be categorized as “low-income” to receive a meal. This is an act of faith and graciousness.
Q: What type of food donations do you need?
A: Cooked turkeys or turkey breasts in their juices, unstuffed. Please cut the legs and wings off for easy storage, or carve your turkey! Non-pumpkin pies — homemade or from the bakery. Cooked sweet potatoes, either canned or in casseroles. Boxes/bags of stuffing. Please make your donations in a non-returnable dish/pan. Last year, we served/delivered more than 500 meals and things get a little crazy. We’re also happy to give you a disposable tray and cooking bag. Call Bonnie Lawson at 412.343.3498.
Q: What’s the best way to cook the turkey?
A: In a cooking bag and disposable, aluminum cooking pan, preferably one with sturdy handles. You can find both of these items at your local grocery store or we can give you a set (call Bonnie at 412.343.3498). Just follow the directions on the cooking bag box.
When the turkey is cooked, bring the whole thing (bagged turkey in the tray) to the donation site. If you wish to carve your turkey, or simply cut the legs and wings off to easy storage, please do! This is a time saver for us!
Q: I won’t be in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day, but I still want to donate food or a cash donation. What do I do?
A: Cash donations are most welcome! Please make your check out to MLUMC with a note “Thanksgiving Meal.” Cash notations should be put in an envelope labeled “Thanksgiving Meal.”
Bring the food to Mt. Lebanon UM church (3319 West Liberty, 15216) on Wednesday, Nov. 23 between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and leave it in one of the refrigerators labeled, “Thanksgiving Day Meal Items.” We’ll take it from there. Pies that do not need to be refrigerated can be left on the counter in the main kitchen.
Q: What time can I take my food donations to Bethany Lutheran Church on Thanksgiving Day?
A: Anytime between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Q: What can I expect when I make a delivery?
A: That’s hard to say — though you may be surprised! You may deliver to a house that’s in need of repair in an area of town you don’t often frequent. You may make a delivery to someone who lives in an affluent neighborhood and who doesn’t look like he or she “needs” a meal. What matters most with every delivery is the opportunity to reach out to someone in love and hospitality.
Q: What if the person I’m delivering to invites me to come inside his or her home?
A: Please go in and visit with that person if you feel comfortable. You could be his or her only company for the day, week or month. For many of our clients, the visit is more important than the food.
Q: Someone offered to pay for the meal I delivered last year. What should I do if that happens again?
A: Please let the person know that the meal is free. However, if you sense that it means a lot to this person to be able to pay for the meal, accept the contribution graciously and tell the individual the money will be donated to the Christmas Day meal or other mission project. If the person would like to write a check, he or she can make it out to Bethany Lutheran Church. Please give any donations to one of the pastors.
Q: I won’t be able to drive on Thanksgiving Day and I hate to cook! Is there any other way I can be involved?
A: We always need help with cleanup. Clean up help is needed at both MLUMC and Bethany. Clean up will start around 3:00 pm at MLUMC and at 5:00 pm at Bethany. If you have a teenager, he/she can earn community service credits for cleanup. Just bring the paperwork with you and we’ll sign/date/stamp it.
You can also pray for the people who receive meals and for all of the people who are involved in providing meals.
Q. What if I still have questions?