Thanksgiving for a few families is going to be a little bit brighter, and a whole lot tastier, thanks to some groups in Clinton who have teamed up for a special holiday outreach.
Olive Grove Church, the Clinton Police Department’s Neighborhood Improvement Team and Walmart worked together and coordinated through the Sampson County Department of Social Services to help out three families this Thanksgiving. Walmart donated three hams and three turkeys to serve the families, while Olive Grove Church made sides and desserts.
The food was delivered to DSS on Tuesday, so that social workers could make sure it got into the right hands.
“We try to do something at the holidays and we’re always looking to meet some need in the community,” said Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards. “DSS identified families for us and will deliver the food donated and made for those families.”
During Christmases past, the department has gone into local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as made trips to local schools, notably Head Start and Early Head Start.
“We always try to identify some need and opportunities to give back, not just at the holidays but it’s something we try to do all year,” Edwards said.
He shared his gratitude to Walmart and Olive Grove for their generosity. Olive Grove pastor Russ Emmanuel eschewed any credit and said it was a privilege for his congregation to be able to assist those who need it, or at least help brighten the holidays for a few families. Through conversations Emmanuel had with Clinton Police Officer Salah O’Neill, they felt a partnership to help some families would be a great outreach.
Back in August, Olive Grove sponsored a block party that consisted of various activities and food for children and their families, the culmination of a four-day free summer camp hosted by the Clinton Police Department in which campers ages 9-14 learned about drug awareness, the responsibilities of police officers and how to use magnetic dust to lift fingerprints.
Olive Grove partnered with Higher Level Ministries pastor Onyx Martin, as well as the Clinton Police Department and others in the community to host the community celebration at the Sampson Center. They worked closely with officers during the summer camp as well.
Emmanuel said Olive Grove has engaged in similar holiday outreach in the past, specifically at Thanksgiving, giving away turkeys one year and fixing complete meals for families another. They made sides and desserts to go along with the donated hams and turkeys this time around.
“We’ve given away food in the past, but it was nice to be able to partner with them again,” Emmanuel said of the police department. “We’re not looking to get any credit, but we know people could use help, especially during the holidays. It just helps them out and allows them to have dignity and honor; they’re not just walking up with pre-cooked meals.”
Edwards agreed, saying he looked forward to more partnerships that would benefit the people of Clinton and Sampson County.
“We are honored to be able to work with our community partners to serve our citizens,” the chief said.
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