More than 20 volunteers participated in St. Elias Orthodox Church's fifth annual food delivery event that served more than 160 people across New Castle this Thanksgiving.

"Everything was prepped on Wednesday," said Rick Davis, one of the organizers. "Thursday, all we kind of do is assemble and heat it up."

"Now it's time to make the gravy!" added Ron Davis, a volunteer.

The church has been delivering servings of turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and applesauce to residents of such senior living centers as Vista South, Cedarcrest, Skyview Towers and Riverside Apartments since 2015.

"What we do for each location is we set up a table and we have the pies and the applesauce ready to go," said Tiffany Gilkey, a volunteer coordinator. "As they're assembling the meals, they'll bring them out and we'll load everything."

Gilkey said they have around 162 dinners to deliver, but made around 175 just in case.

Reservations were cut off on Sunday to give the churches time to plan, shop and cook.

Eight men, including Davis and New Castle City Council-elect Bryan Cameron, formed an assembly line filling the containers before passing them to Kim Kladitis, a life-long member of the church, where she added them to a cart to be rolled to volunteers waiting by their tables.

"The big part is delivering," said Davis.

Volunteers Cliff Kilgar, Timothy Aliff and Bill Voigt added pie and applesauce to the bags before loading them up for delivery.

The day started with the Eucharistic service at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church on Mill Street before volunteers began to arrive.

Since St. Elias started delivering Thanksgiving dinners five years ago, they have posted sign-up sheets in apartment buildings. This year, they noticed St. Vincent de Paul Parish were posting similar sign up sheets.

"I suggested rather than competing against each other that we should just join forces," said Albert Deep, who is in charge of the St. Elias effort.

Deep estimates volunteers from St. Vincent de Paul Parish served between 70 to 75 meals to primarily their parishioners.

St. Elias delivered to apartment buildings, and St. Vincent de Paul will deliver to individual residences.

Several years ago, the church tried to do something similar where they hosted a free dinner on the South Side, but there was very low turnout, according to Deep.

mariabasileo@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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