Thanksgiving and other items

posted by Mike on November 25th, 2005

Let’s eat

Thanksgiving is one day when America not only makes a point of feeding the hungry, but feeding them in style.

There was a big crowd at St. John’s Free Meal for Thanksgiving Breakfast. Lots of hugs and smiles.

The St. John’s High School football team stopped by with a donation. (Later that day, they beat St. Peter-Marian 28-7.)

The breakfast conversation was sparkling, as always.

Mike: Why are they showing “Night of the Living Dead” on Thanksgiving?

Bruce: The dead gotta eat too, Mike!

Many trudged through the snow from St. John’s to the cathedral for lunch:

Bishop serves 200 guests, 1,200 enjoy home delivery

By M. Elizabeth Roman TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

WORCESTER— Motioning emphatically from one of dozens of white tablecloth-covered tables in the basement of St. Paul Cathedral yesterday, Robert A. McCarraher said he wanted to make a point.

“I want people to know something,” said Mr. McCarraher, one of 200 guests at the 40th annual Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by Catholic Charities and hosted by Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus.

“If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have dinner. I would have no place to go, no food or nothing.”

While the Bishop shared a turkey lunch at the cathedral, I cooked a pizza and tamale lunch (with cranberry sauce) for my little crew. Then we watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Worcesterites who were still hungry went to Bill’s Place for a free dinner. (I was busy watching WVU beat Pitt 45-13.)

Anti-panhandling campaign “is not the solution”

Worcester Magazine this week asks if the City’s anti-panhandling campaign has failed. There seem to be as many panhandlers as ever.

Thomas Reidy, panhandler: “My donations went up.” Dave McMahon, advocate: “They are back.” Tim Murray, mayor: “I think there is less panhandling taking place.”

It’s worth noting that lots of local social service agencies supported the campaign when it began in April. I don’t blame the social service agencies; the plan included lots of visionary stuff about the City and the agencies cooperating to help panhandlers, none of which has materialized.

I asked a social worker if people have been giving to local charities rather than panhandlers, and he laughed bitterly.

There are still little metal signs around the city saying “Panhandling is not the solution.” But the campaign never got beyond the initial media blitz. Most people presumably don’t notice these ads or ignore them; in any case, they don’t seem to have done any good. It may be that they’ve done some bad, making a few folks more contemptuous of panhandlers. The City should discontinue this failed campaign that’s done nothing but stir up ill will.

Take back Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving is Buy Nothing Day. If you’re in Central Massachusetts, why not celebrate by demonstrating against the sleazy policies of Wal-Mart in North Oxford? For a less-traditional way of expressing yourself, consider slowly walking down every aisle of the store with an empty cart–what’s called Whirl-Mart.

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