As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I fondly recall the first parish-based ministry I volunteered to lead: the Comfort Food ministry. Can't remember if it was always called that, but that's what we called it when I stepped up to the plate ─ pun shamelessly intended.
It was a food bank of sorts, developed for parishioners in distress. Comfort Food ministers kept the parish freezer stocked with home-cooked dinners. Those in our healthcare, bereavement and Elizabeth ministries took these good-to-go meals with them to parishioners as needed.
It was generally known that anyone could take a meal; generally understood that the rationale for doing so was more dire than, "I'm tired of pizza delivery and the same goes double for Chinese take-out."
Thanksgiving was always somewhat challenging. Despite extraordinarily "robust" levels of academic achievement, parishioners needed weekly reminders about dropping off whole, uncooked and frozen turkeys, as in: Don't do this! Bulletin blurbs became increasingly less gentle by the 4th Sunday of Advent.
Although I rued this annual situation, as well as the inevitability of baked ziti, I had more pressing gustatory concerns.
And so it came to pass that I began my tenure as head of the Comfort Food ministry proclaiming: No meal shall ever be glued together with cream-of-anything soup.
I never faced any overt push-back from the casserole crowd. Perhaps I imagined hearing a huge sigh of relief ─ other than mine.