“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” – Matthew 25:35.
It’s this scripture that has inspired the congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary since 2004, and Monday night, in partnership with NIPSCO, they hosted the 10th annual Sharing ENERGY for Thanksgiving dinner giveaway for the community.
“We try to match up to the scripture,” Reverend John E. Jackson, Sr. said. “We just want to be a blessing, and we want people to be encouraged. And we do it without cost.”
“Reverend Jackson shared the need, and we have a number of groups prepared to help,” said NIPSCO’s Director of Operations Integration and Strategy Michael Suggs while he handed out turkeys at the front door. “It’s important to participate in the communities where you live and work. And it’s good to know people can depend on you.”
This is NIPSCO’s sixth year participating in the dinner giveaway. NIPSCO helps purchase the food, and their workers volunteer at the well-organized event, handing out food and smiles to every guest.
Attendees lined up outside the church at 6 p.m. The event started at 7, but the church usually opens the doors early. They were invited out of the cold to wait in the warm sanctuary awaiting for their numbers to be called so they could go pick up their bag of Aldi staples on their way out the front door, where 475 turkeys were waiting.
“Some people feel invisible because, if you have a need, people tend to overlook you or question why you have that need. Nobody should feel invisible,” community member and volunteer Pecola Vann said. “Everybody should feel like they’re special, and if I can offer a smile, a hug, and a bit of encouragement, I’m happy to do it.”
Vann volunteers at the event every year, as well as at a similar event at her own church. She also volunteers at Somebody’s Closet Ministry, hosted by Trinity, which gives out prom dresses, backpacks, winter coats, and more. Trinity also operates a soup kitchen every Saturday night so that people in the community can enjoy a hot meal throughout the year.
“We intentionally focus on going beyond the walls of the church,” the reverend said, “We want to be more like Jesus, who did his greatest works outside the walls.”
“It’s important to participate in the communities where you live and work,” Suggs said. “Our employees live and work in these communities. And this a great opportunity to give back to the communities that we’re fortunate enough to live and work as NIPSCO employees.”
For more information about NIPSCO, please visit www.nipsco.com.