At St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV, a trio of Viatorian associates continued a tradition that goes back more than 20 years, of preparing Thanksgiving dinners for homebound seniors, the disabled or those who would be alone. They call this mission, GLOWS, or God’s Love Overflows While Serving.
Associate Cheryl Schwarz led the outreach, with help from her husband, Associate Dan Schwarz and Associate Juliann Dwyer — who led the kitchen crew in preparing green beans, yams and slicing all the turkeys.
The effort to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving, drew nearly 300 parishioners to participate, including 80 volunteers who prepared and served the meal, and 200 parishioner families who delivered 794 meals to 492 locations in Henderson and Las Vegas.
Schwarz credited not only the generosity of parish members but a social justice grant from the Viatorian Community, which helped underwrite the cost of nearly 800 meals that were prepared.
“Thank you so much to all the volunteers who delivered and/or served. We know this meant giving a part of your holiday to help and serve those in need,” officials said on the parish Facebook page. “You are amazing and we are so grateful!
“We also want to extend a big thanks to the Viatorians for the very generous grant that we received,” they added. “This grant helps tremendously and the continued support means so much to our staff and community.”
Once again, the parish partnered with HopeLink of Southern Nevada and Meals on Wheels, offered through Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, to identify those in need. This year they also delivered meals to 16 locations served by Operation Home, which is responding to the surge in homelessness in the Las Vegas area, by working to give those at high risk a path to permanent housing.
“A majority of them have been homeless for a year or more, and they are now in new housing provided by this program,” Schwarz said. “This was their first major holiday in a stable home environment.”
Planning and executing GLOWS is a major effort, but one that the entire parish finds rewarding.
“Our parishioners looked forward to participating,” Schwarz said, “and they were thrilled to be able to deliver meals on this very special day of giving.”