Church provides Thanksgiving dinners for 80 seniors

Retired Richland County deputy sheriffs and others making deliveries

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Saint David’s Episcopal Church in Northeast Columbia provided 80 Thanksgiving dinners for seniors across Columbia and the Midlands, Mon., Nov. 23, with approximately 35 percent of the senior recipients being shut-ins, though nearly all are erring on the side of caution, this year, and staying home because of the COVID pandemic.

St. David’s coordinated their efforts with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s (RCSD) Project H.O.P.E. (HELPING OUR PRECIOUS ELDERLY), an RCSD program that services approximately 600 elderly citizens, countywide, with everything from replacing light bulbs and smoke detectors in homes to educating seniors about ongoing telephone scams.

“We want to make sure that all the people in our communities have a Happy Thanksgiving,” said RCSD Lieutenant Tom Amaro, director of Project H.O.P.E. “We think these meals and a visit from one of us will go a long way toward that.”

The meals and easy-to-prepare food items were purchased by the church and packed in boxes. The items included hams, canned yams, vegetables, and cornbread dressing.

Food was collected Mon. morning by Project H.O.P.E. volunteers, all of whom work either full-time like Amaro or part-time for RCSD, including seven retired RCSD deputies. The members of Project H.O.P.E. then delivered the meals over a three-hour period to senior residences in Eastover, Gadsden, Hopkins, the Broad River Road area, Dutch Fork, Northeast Columbia, and downtown.

“Our elderly are among our most precious resources,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “Through our own Project H.O.P.E. and generous churches like St. David’s, we are striving to bring some sunshine and a happy Thanksgiving into the lives of those who have already given so much to all of us.”

– Pictured are members of Project H.O.P.E. and others at St. David’s Church.