Vine + Table: Feeding the Masses

Vine + Table: Feeding the Masses

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PhotobucketEditor’s Note: "Vine + Table" is Cincy Chic‘s newest column by Terrah Kocher, a local food and wine lover. This bi-weekly column will help you navigate the wine rack as well as the local culinary options.


Every year at Thanksgiving, volunteers of Crossroads Community Church in Oakley and Mason, provide food for families in need in three different cities, including Cincinnati. And they give a lot of food.


Last year almost 3,500 boxes of food made their way to hungry stomachs. While most of those boxes fed Cincinnati residents, Crossroads volunteers drove 150 boxes down to New Orleans. And through the drive, Crossroads was able to ship more than 97,000 pounds of bulk food items to Mamelodi, South Africa. This year, numbers are expected to double.


The Crossroads Thanksgiving Food Drive started 15 years ago with one volunteer and a single box of food. Now, the drive has become somewhat of an annual festival for the community. Volunteers dress up in turkey, pilgrim and even cow costumes. Music echoes, horns blow, people cheer and cars line up for what seems like miles, with donors patiently waiting to unload their heavy boxes.


"The vision for Thanksgiving Food Drive is to facilitate others’ being a blessing to their community," Crossroads spokesperson Natalie Hastings says. "For Mamelodi and Cincinnati, nearly all of our food boxes are passed onto other

churches to enable those churches to be a blessing to their neighbors and people within their church community."


The massive effort operates somewhat like a well-oiled machine. Members of the church 1) grab a box, 2) fill the box with listed food, 3) return the box. While the steps sound simple, the effort is unbelievably massive.


The grocery list itself is substantial and includes everything needed to make an entire Thanksgiving feast. Items include baking or sweet potatoes, a frozen turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, carrots, fruit, rolls, cake mix, cool aid, coffee, tea and a baking pan.


The average box feeds a family of six to 10 and costs volunteers about $75 in groceries to fill. Some generous givers even promise to fill and return multiple boxes.


"We have two groups this year that will collect food at their workplaces, fill the Cincinnati boxes and return them on Nov. 20. One group is filling 34 boxes (340 meals), and one group is filling 70 boxes (700 meals). It’s amazing!" Crossroads spokesperson Kelly Kruyer says.



The food drive gives an extra boost to local business, especially grocery stores. Volunteers are encouraged to shop early because stores, such as the Meijer closest to Oakley, run very low on quantities close to collection dates.


From beginning to end, the effort by local volunteers is enormous, and the impact on our community is nothing less than life-changing. To all the volunteers out there who serve to feed the poor and hungry: "Sawubona," which is Zulu for "Thank you."


To learn more about the Crossroads Thanksgiving Food Drive, visit  or click the play button below to see last year’s recap.


Photos courtesy of Crossroads Community Church

Video courtesy of Crossroads Community Church