I was disheartened just a few minutes ago when I read an article in the newspaper about someone stealing a truck from Mustard Seed Ministries, used to pick up donations for families in need. Mustard Seed Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit that has organized the annual holiday feast for the past 23 years. The immediate concern for Mustard Seed was that someone will fraudulently solicit or pick up donations using the truck, which has Mustard Seed logos on both sides, according to program director, Stacy Malinowski. She urged people not to give donations to anyone who comes to their home or business unless they are wearing an official Mustard Seed T-Shirt with logos on it. Someone apparently used a tool to break into the truck and then hotwired it at about 10:00 p.m. A Mustard Seed employee who saw the truck heading onto Florida’s Turnpike from Okeechobee Road reported the theft. Fort Pierce police had not recovered the truck yet, and are still investigating. The theft left Mustard Seed with only one truck to pick up donations and haul tents, equipment and other items to the site of the Thanksgiving meal. The trucks also are used to deliver furniture donations to the Mustard Seed Thrift Store, whose proceeds help people in need. Though the truck was insured, the settlement won’t be enough to buy a new truck and won’t be received before the meal. They are considering renting a truck which will take away money from their organization to help people in the community.
Many of the more than 13,000 people expected to participate in the annual Thanksgiving Community Feast this year are among those who have lost their jobs or can’t afford to buy turkey and the trimmings. Loneliness drives others there. Like an older man dressed in a suit and tie who showed up last year, Malinowski recalled. She was still mourning the loss of her husband when she talked to the man, who told her “he lost his wife two months ago and he didn’t want to be alone.” The man was thankful for having that opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with others, she said. “There are a lot of people who can’t afford a meal,” she said. “That’s a good portion of what it’s about, but that’s not all it’s about.” With the continuing slow economy, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain enough food and supplies, Malinowski said. To meet the need, 1,000 turkeys are needed, and now we only have 420. Donations and volunteers are needed to help make this year’s event a success. Aside from money and gift cards, people are needed to donate cooked and deboned turkeys in advance, as well as prepare and serve food for the feast and deliver cooked turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. The dinner includes turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert. Publix donates most of the desserts, but more are needed, Malinowski said. Mustard Seed started the event, but named it the “Thanksgiving Community Feast” because that’s what it takes. Volunteers include 35 churches, schools and colleges and more than 2,000 individuals, she said. One perennial volunteer is the Big Heart Brigade of the Treasure Coast, St. Lucie County Firefighters smoke about 100 turkeys for the cause, according to fire district spokeswoman Catherine Chaney, St. Lucie County Schools with culinary programs also cook turkeys. “Without the community, this would not happen,” Malinowski said.
If you live in the Fort Pierce or Port St. Lucie Florida area, there are many ways that you can help.
To report on stolen truck: Call 772-465-6021
To prepare meals: Call 772-465-6021 in advance.
To serve meals: Plan to work from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
To deliver meals: Sign in at volunteer tent at 9:30 a.m. on November 22nd.
To donate cash, checks, gift cards:
Mustard Seed Ministries, P.O. Box 3612, Fort Pierce, FL 34948. Write “Thanksgiving” on check’s memo line.
To donate cooked and deboned turkeys: Drop off from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, November 21st at
St. Mark’s Missionary Baptist Church, 921 Orange Ave., Fort Pierce: or from 8-11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day
at Orange Avenue and Ninth Street, Fort Pierce.
Where and When the event will be held:
Orange Avenue and Ninth Street, Fort Pierce and The Refuge, 7650 S. U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie
For home meal delivery: Call 772-460-5414 before November 19th.
*If you would like anymore information or have questions, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.*
This will be my third year volunteering and am looking forward to serving again this year.
Let’s help make this Thanksgiving a blessed and safe one for everyone.
May you be blessed,