STEUBENVILLE - Urban Mission Ministries is ready to "talk turkey."
In the six weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the mission will be honoring invitations throughout the Steubenville, Wintersville and Weirton area - and scouting them as well - to accomplish two things: raise awareness about hunger issues in the area and generate funds for local families in need.
The Rev. Ashley Steele, the mission's executive director, said Monday afternoon the mission's Thom Turkey, "our famous Thanksgiving mascot," will be appearing at different locations and looking for invitations from churches, businesses and organizations interested in hosting Thom along the way.
READY TO ROAM — Urban Mission Ministries is reaching out to churches, businesses and organizations in the six weeks leading up to Thanksgiving in hopes that they’ll provide a forum in which the mission can raise awareness about local hunger issues and raise funds for local families in need. Anyone interested in a brief presentation that would include a visit by Thom Turkey, the mission’s Thanksgiving turkey mascot, can call the mission at (740) 282-8010. Promoting the campaign are, from left, volunteer Sara Green; the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of the mission; and Linda Smith, mission program director.
-- Janie R. Kiaski
They can make arrangements by contacting the mission by phone at (740) 282-8010 or visiting the website at www.urbanmission.org. Visits can be made any day of the week.
Thom Turkey's stops throughout the six-week period will end in his final destination at the mission warehouse during the week of the annual Thanksgiving basket distribution Nov. 12-16.
"We'll be tracking Thom's progress in the weeks leading up to his arrival at the distribution," Steele said.
"We're having conversations about hunger issues in our area and helping to raise funds for our Thanksgiving distribution, so it's kind of a dual purpose. We've reached out to the schools to share the message with their students, we've reached out to the hospitals just to be present there and reached out to different businesses, but this way we can make sure that everybody who wants to have Thom make a stop can do that," she said.
"Thom Turkey will be accompanied by an Urban Mission staff member or volunteer and will be able to share information with the public regarding the work of the Urban Mission during the holiday season as well as the great needs in our area," Steele said.
And the need is great getting greater, according to Steele and Linda Smith, the mission's program director.
"We always shoot for at least 1,200 baskets. That's always our goal, but we know that right now we probably are exceeding that in terms of people who sign up," Steele said.
"Right now we are over 1,200 baskets.
"We're over 1,300," said Smith. "It's takes every bit of what we get on our drive every year to do 1,200 $42,000," Smith said.
"We're going to need extra help this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas," Smith added.
"Hunger continues to be a great need in our area. We see our numbers rising each and every year, and as we've seen in the past, this community always steps up to help those in need, certainly around the holidays, so this would be just another opportunity for our community to show its generosity for those who are the most in need this year," Steele said.
(Kiaski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)