By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – For several years, the Holy Trinity Anglican Church (HTAC) on Lincoln Street in Marlborough had served a warm dinner every other Saturday to local residents who were down on their luck. Volunteers welcomed the guests and served them with compassion and dignity. Students from Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School, members of Greater Grace Christian Fellowship and members of the Rotary took turns serving meals with the HTAC volunteers. However, when the pandemic forced a shutdown of business as usual, Father Michael McKinnon, HTAC’s pastor, realized that he and his volunteers had to step up, not down.
“During COVID-19, in addition to providing a wonderful meal every Saturday evening, we are providing people with masks, bags of groceries, bags of toiletries, fresh eggs, loaves of bread, milk and additional items,” he said. “It is by the grace of God that we have been able to do this for the past several months.”
The meals are no longer served as a sit-down dinner, but are packaged individually and distributed.
Recently McKinnon reached out to other congregations in the community to request help with procuring the weekly grocery donations.
“A good portion of our donations each week come from the members of my small church family,” he explained. “Alas, supplies are running quite low. However, I feel strongly in my heart that we must keep up our emergency response to this present crisis at least through the end of the year or hopefully through March 2021.”
Items needed include small jars of peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and jars or cans of sauce, canned tuna or chicken and jars of mayonnaise, Progresso soups, mac-n-cheese, bags of rice, canned vegetables, dishwashing liquid and detergent for washing clothes. They can also use donations of plastic grocery bags or paper bags with handles. There is an occasional need for toiletries and paper products in individual packages. Volunteers are present in the church’s Outreach Center, 478 Lincoln St., Saturdays from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. to receive donations.
McKinnon is also already beginning to prepare for Thanksgiving.
“We have traditionally served a sit-down family style meal with all the fixings, pie for dessert, and hot cider and more,” he said. “Sadly, this year, due to COVID-19, we will need to serve this as a take-out dinner. Many who have attended this special event every Thanksgiving holiday are people who have no family or have not received an invitation to join their family. This is where we come in!”
McKinnon is hoping to get enough supplies to prepare and distribute 140 meals on Thanksgiving.
“We hope that with help from other churches and organizations, as well as some individuals, we will be able to help and bless the homeless, the sheltered, the recovering, the financially challenged, and the lonely, on Thanksgiving Day,” he noted. “We have people to distribute the meals, but are hoping for donations of serving containers and food items.”
To donate or to check on items still needed, McKinnon can be reached at [email protected] or 508-481-8493. He is also collecting clean winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves to distribute to those in need.