West Chester family serves those in need
A Thanksgiving turkey on each table is Tons of Turkeys’ Mission with help from Cityteam Ministries
CHESTER >> Rick and Francie Warther were sitting around the Thanksgiving table seven years ago with their family and decided that no one should go without a turkey on their table at Thanksgiving. The family from West Chester started Tons of Turkeys at www.tonsofturkeys.org. Over the years the nonprofit has grown.
In seven years they have donated 10,000 turkeys. On Saturday they volunteered to deliver turkeys and baskets of food to those in need with Cityteam Ministries. They brought their nieces, Sophia Truran and Rachel Vellutato and their brother, Kevin Truran to help out.
“This is the third year we donated 1,000 turkeys to the Cityteam Ministries,” said Francie Warther. “We knew that the Cityteam Ministries was struggling to get turkeys. We donate 500 to the Chester County Food Bank. It’s important to give back and this is the time to give back. We want as many families as possible to have a fantastic Thanksgiving. We just couldn’t imagine people not having turkeys on their table at Thanksgiving.”
“We have a direct mail campaign to family, friends and small businesses,” said Rick Warther. “Landscapers, dentists, plumbers and others donate. People want to give every year, be it $1,000 or
$10. It all helps.”
For the Warthers, delivering the turkeys to those in need was humbling and eye-opening.
“The people are so grateful for what you do,” said Francie Warther. “By delivering the turkeys to those in need, we had our boots on the ground and we had a chance to experience and see the real sense of community of here. It’s a way to connect the dots.”
Nine hundred boxes of food and turkeys were delivered on Saturday by volunteers.
Thirty-four turkeys will be cooked to give those in need a restaurant-style full meal and some food to take home on Thanksgiving, according to John Clifford who heads the Food Service.
Tavia Isaac, who won Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” award this year, will use her talents in the kitchen to help out.
“Inside each box is everything for a complete Thanksgiving meal, from the stuffing to the vegetables and hopefully leftovers,” said Kwinn Tucker, director of Cityteam Ministries. “We started delivering 10 years ago. Volunteers deliver to 300 families. Many families come and pick them up. Families register in October. There is lots of work behind the scenes to make this happen. We were struggling getting enough turkeys before the Warthers family came along. Their donation helps a lot.
“This whole day is an outpouring of community
supporting people. Even if someone doesn’t have enough to give, they volunteer. It’s beautiful to see how God provides and the goodness that comes from the heart. People show up more and more needing help every year, but the volunteers are generous and we count on them. We receive no funding from any government agency but we always have enough.”
Mark Kropiewnicki of West Chester comes every year with a group from Ss. Simon and Jude Parish.
“I have done this the last couple of years at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Kropiewnicki said. “It’s a father-and-son outing. It’s a way to teach our kids what life is like beyond the suburbs.”
Dan Costa of Wilmington, Delaware, who recently lived in Media, feels by volunteering he is giving back because others have been there for him. He brought both his daughters to help out.
“I am honored to be able
to help people,” Costa said. “I had people in my life that took care of me when I couldn’t. I’m grateful for what has been given to me. I like to pass it on.”
“It is life-changing to be a part of something bigger than yourself,“said Tucker, as she looked around the room at the many volunteers and residents.
Turkeys and food will be given out again on Dec. 17 for Christmas. If you want to volunteer to deliver turkeys you can register at www.cityteam.org/turkeydrive/.
Francie and Richard Warther of West Chester donated 1,000 turkeys to Cityteam Ministries in Chester and 500 to the Chester County Food Bank. This is the third year their nonprofit Tons of Turkeys organization donated turkeys to Cityteam Ministries. They have donated turkeys for seven years.
Brian Stafford and Giovanny Candelario, both members of Cityteam Ministries, help stack boxes.
At left, Rowan Costa, 10, puts a turkey in the bin for pick up at Cityteam Ministries. She lived in Media and her family recently moved to Wilmington, Del.