Churches join forces to ‘Feed the 5,000’

SENECA — Hundreds of Upstate volunteers, including dozens of parishioners from St. Paul the Apostle Church in Seneca and St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville, prepared and delivered thousands of meals on Thanksgiving Day to low-income families and shut-ins.

In Seneca, the multidenominational effort — now in its 12th year — is called “Feed the 5,000.” It brings together Catholics and Protestants for several hours of fellowship on a day set aside for giving thanks to God and helping those in need.

St. Paul parishioners Giraldo and Ada Caballero were among the Catholics who donated turkeys to the soup kitchen. Ada handled the cooking and Giraldo took care of the delivery on Thanksgiving morning.

“We’re delivering two turkeys today,” Giraldo said.

Parishioner John Moosbrugger coordinated the turkey donations. He also represents the parish on the soup kitchen’s board of directors.

Dozens of volunteers — many of them students from Seneca High School — were up early on Thanksgiving serving meals to those who walked or drove to the soup kitchen, and preparing boxed meals delivered that day to hundreds of shut-ins and others who couldn’t get to the dining room.

“Seventy-five percent of the meals we prepare are delivered,” said Bob Renzo, soup kitchen vice president and co-founder of “Feed the 5,000.”

Renzo is a member of United Assembly of God Church in Seneca.

“We cross all denominational lines and racial lines,” he said. “This truly is a community that comes together on Thanksgiving.”

Meanwhile about 40 miles to the east, Catholics joined Baptists from First Baptist Church in Mauldin in serving and preparing turkey and all the trimmings to about 1,500 at the Red Lobster in Greenville on Thanksgiving.

Local Boy Scout troops collected many of the more than 200 donated turkeys that were cooked by parishioners and Baptists in the kitchen at Meals on Wheels of Greenville.

Some 3,500 meals were prepared and delivered to shut-ins in the Greenville area on Thanksgiving.

That effort was coordinated through the city’s Loaves & Fishes soup kitchen.

“This is truly a community-wide effort to feed the hungry on a day when most of us have so much to give thanks for,” said Susan Douglas, executive director of Loaves & Fishes.