City Mission prepares for busy holiday season

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

While many families are spending Thanksgiving at home with their families, the Cremeans family has spent the past 37 Thanksgivings at its second home with its second family.

Ironton's City Welfare Mission is gearing up for its Thanksgiving dinner, which last year served 448 people. At noon this coming Thursday, the mission will open its doors to anyone who may not be able to have their holiday meal.

"I love to help people," said the Rev. James Cremeans, mission director. "That's why I took on the job as mission director. It's a joy to be able to help people in their time of need. The blessings are more than giving up a day (Thanksgiving). There's just no comparison."

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This year, the mission will prepare a meal that includes dressing, potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, cole slaw and 25 20-pound turkeys. Many of the mission's volunteers, Cremeans said, cook the turkeys at their homes because the mission does not have enough oven space for all that needs to be cooked.

The majority of the approximately 40 volunteers, he said, are members of the City Mission Church. About 25 percent of the volunteers are young people and another 25 percent are people age 60 and older.

"We're really blessed with a good number of people," Cremeans said. "They've helped us for years and years."

According to Cremeans' wife Mary, the atmosphere of the dinner is a happy one, and almost all of their five children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren are also at the mission on Thanksgiving.

"It's busy, but everyone is happy and working together," she said.

Currently, the mission's donations are down by 15 percent, James Cremeans said, and the need for services is high. While 25 percent of people the mission helps are children, the number of children is down. However, that is just a result of smaller family sizes, he said.

"The families are not as big. There's just more families," he said.

After Thanksgiving, Christmas begins at the mission. Wednesday, the mission had probably its last clothing distribution of the year. During the Christmas season, the clothing room is used for toys. More than 1,000 children received toys last year, James Cremeans said. Six hundred families received food baskets.

None of this would be possible, both the Rev. and Mrs. Cremeans said, without the help of community members who have helped out over the years.

"Everything they give goes to help people," James Cremeans said. "One-hundred percent goes to helping others."

"People are so generous in this county. It's a blessing," Mary Cremeans said. "We depend on the community. We would be unable to do this with out donations."

"This is where the Lord has called us. We want everyone who may not have a meal or are maybe having a meal alone to come. We'd be glad to have them."

The mission makes deliveries to shut-ins, but officials have asked for those needing deliveries to call the mission in advance so a delivery schedule can be made.