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Engaging on Turkey Day

Engaging on Turkey Day
Fall Feast at the Duke Energy Center continues to expand, with more people expected to come and more features for participants, including a new health screening kit.

 

111411SOCIAL.jpgAbout six thousand five hundred people will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner together at the Duke Energy Center this year. To serve them, around 900 people from around Cincinnati will volunteer, says Jason Williams, public relations director for City Gospel Mission, one of the sponsors of Fall Feast.

 

The event is in its seventh year, but City Gospel Mission just joined for the 2009 feast with Give Back Cincinnati, the event's main sponsor, two years ago. "We can only seat 105 in our cafeteria in the mission on Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine," Williams says. "We were looking to expand how many people we could serve. We got involved with Fall Feast, and there's a lot of cross-over. We asked if we could jump onboard to reach more people in need on that day, and let them know that we're here to help them the other 364 days of the year."

 

As it has every year, Fall Feast continues to expand in 2011, with the introduction of free health screenings for people in need. Additionally, the organizations anticipate providing 300 free haircuts - up from 280 last year - and 1,500 coats, instead of the 1,100 given away last year, Williams says.

 

Erin Klotzbach, who has chaired the event for the last three years, first got involved as a volunteer for the day. As someone who usually donated her time on mission trips, Klotzbach says she liked the community feel of Fall Feast. "Typically, I have done mission trips in other countries, and I felt like this would be a really good way to give back to my community in Cincinnati," Klotzbach says.

 

The 40 companies involved in the coat drive as well as the multitude of volunteers fulfill part of their civic duties on this day, Klotzbach says. "I feel like our responsibility as citizens in the community is to do this," she says. "You can't just show up and be in the community and not give back to the people around you."

 

Fall Feast doesn't just give back to the community that is able to make it to the event, though, Williams says. "[A portion of the meals] go out the door to elderly shut-ins who can't get out," Williams says. "That's been the system every year. Our goal this year, or what we expect, is 6,500 this year, with 1,500 going to shut-ins."

 

Although traditionally, the event has been the most attended by homeless people, Fall Feast represents a great opportunity for the people in the Greater Cincinnati area to come together for a common goal, Klotzbach says. "The really cool aspect of this event is that it's a community event," she says. "It's not just for homeless people; it doesn't matter where you live or what socioeconomic background you have. We have seen such a need in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky because there are a lot of people who have the need and don't have the ability to make this meal for themselves."

Alyssa Howard -

Alyssa Howard is Cincy Chic's editor. Email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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