The Glory Hole gave out 100 boxes of fixings for Christmas dinner last year and expects to give 150 such boxes to the needy this year. As always, the church-supported homeless shelter and dining hall downtown is relying on the community to fill the boxes.
The need has been rising in recent years, said Glory Hole Executive Director Joan Decker. The shelter gave out 125 Thanksgiving food boxes this year, up from 75 last year.
"I don't know if it's because more people are staying in town," she said. Or because "more people are impacted by the strict standards of giving out food stamps. Much fewer people qualify and for shorter periods of time."
"Low-paying jobs just don't meet all of the financial needs for basic survival in our community," said Glory Hole board Chairman Larry Rorem, pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. The church's food pantry also has more users. "Many of the people at the Glory Hole are employed or seeking employment or housing. Many are seeking a niche in our community, but that's not easy to do."
The Glory Hole is accepting contributions of uncooked geese or turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, cans of fruit and green vegetables, potatoes, even dried cherries to make fruitcake.
The food boxes will be given out 1-6 p.m. Dec. 17-23. The Glory Hole also needs food donations for an expected 100 people at dinner on Christmas Day, starting at 6 p.m.
In addition, the Glory Hole also needs presents for children and adults for its Christmas party at 3 p.m. Dec. 24. Last year about 100 adults and 100 children attended.
"You saw very old people who no longer have families get things that really made their eyes light up and made them smile," Decker said.
Children of the homeless often are spread out among relatives, Decker said. "This is a time when they can take their children presents, or they might even be able to bring their children down."
Decker suggested toys and games for younger children, gift certificates, make-up kits and theater tickets for teen-agers, and warm clothes for all ages. "And last but not least, we can always use money," she said.
"It isn't only the Glory Hole or the people involved who are blessed through the caring of others," Rorem said. "But those who reach out and care for others find there are many blessings that come their way through their serving."
The Glory Hole, on South Franklin Street, will accept donations from 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
Eric Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.