On Nov 22, parishioners from St. Luke in River Forest hosted their annual “Turkey Sunday” food giveaway at St. Agatha Parish in North Lawndale. Those who came to the drive-thru giveaway received turkeys and all the trimmings to make a holiday meal. While the event is celebrating its 20th anniversary, it looked a little different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. There were fewer volunteers and all the items were purchased from stores rather than dropped off at the parish by parishioners. Also, one family packed all the bags in order to limit the number of people touching items. “This year it was all monetary donations because of COVID and to keep people socially distant and to have fewer people touching everything,” said St. Luke parishioner Joe Willoughby, who has been volunteering at the event for 12 years. “We go to grocery stores and get a whole bunch of food stuffs. Due to COVID-19, the bags were all packed by members of our parish in their garage.” More than 180 families received food donations from St. Luke’s. Anything left over was donated to St. Agatha’s food pantry. Willoughby said the event builds family and community. “This is a good way to get involved with people who are less fortunate. I feel like Thanksgiving is such an American holiday, so getting the people where they can have a Thanksgiving dinner allows people on both sides to be thankful.” It took some adjustments to reorganize the event because of the pandemic but it’s still “beautiful chaos,” according to St. Luke parishioner Beth Ann Toupin, who helped coordinate it. “It involves usually a lot more people the way we do it normally,” she said “It would be dozens of people from both our parish and St. Agatha, a lot of youth doing all this work. Normally it’s a much more communal thing than this year.” The parish raised $4,500 to purchase food this year. That included $2,000 raised by students at St. Luke School. “There is such need in this community, and I think at Thanksgiving people really feel the need to share, maybe more than other times of year,” Toupin said. Deacon Greg Shumpert from St. Agatha helped to greet the people who came to pick up the food and put the food in their cars. “To me this means that God is truly in us. When we receive the body and blood of Christ at the altar and God is in us, it’s up to us to take the next step and go forth and be church after church, so get out of the physical structure of the building and show people the light of Christ that’s shining bright in us,” he said. “This is an example of making a place better than you found it.” “Turkey Sunday” is a good example of how sharing parishes can work together, said Father Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Agatha. St. Luke is one of several sharing parishes that partner with St. Agatha. “It’s a great opportunity for their parishioners and our parishioners to mingle and work together,” he said. “You don’t want it to be just about money. You want it to be about relationships too.” St. Agatha gave away food for Thanksgiving over four days through its own efforts and partnerships with groups such as the Chicago Food Depository and St. Luke, with a total of over 500 turkeys and other foods distributed before Thanksgiving. “Thanks to so many wonderful people, we’ve been able to really reach out and make a difference for people who are really struggling in the community right now,” Dowling said.