December 5, 2014

Parish men’s group uses flair for frying to feed people in need

Members of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg prepare to start cooking Thanksgiving turkeys for needy families in Decatur County. Pictured, back row, from left, are Jeremiah Westerfeld, Jeremy Effing, Josh Shields, Brandon Butz, Glenn Tebbe, Ernie Stephens and Jake Stephens. Standing in the front row are Mike Mentz, Isaiah Kuntz and Larry Bishop. (Photo by Monty Shields)

Members of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg prepare to start cooking Thanksgiving turkeys for needy families in Decatur County. Pictured, back row, from left, are Jeremiah Westerfeld, Jeremy Effing, Josh Shields, Brandon Butz, Glenn Tebbe, Ernie Stephens and Jake Stephens. Standing in the front row are Mike Mentz, Isaiah Kuntz and Larry Bishop. (Photo by Monty Shields)

By Monty Shields (Special to The Criterion)

GREENSBURG—For a men’s group at St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, Thanksgiving wasn’t just an opportunity to count their blessings, it was a day to share their blessings with others.

And being men who like to cook as much as they like to eat—well, almost—they once again took a day off from work to fry, wrap and deliver 46 turkeys that would contribute to a Thanksgiving feast for people in need in Decatur County.

This year’s contribution marked the 10th straight year that the men of Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) team 4 at St. Mary’s came together to assist Bread of Life, a community effort to feed the hungry.

The men’s group first tapped into their flair for frying in 2005 when Bread of Life faced the challenge of providing enough turkeys for families in need.

That same year, the men of CRHP team 4 had just completed their year of formation. They were ready to be God’s hands within the parish and community. One of the members, Mike Mentz, had already been assisting at the Decatur County Bread of Life. So the connection was made.

On the day before Thanksgiving that first year, seven men took a day off from work to cook for others. Within six hours, 18 fried turkeys had been delivered to Bread of Life for their annual Thanksgiving meal.

This year’s effort began two days before Thanksgiving when the men put the turkeys in a brine to make sure they were thawed, and to help moisten the birds. The next morning, the 46 turkeys were ready to be cooked in 12 fryers. By 3 p.m., the turkeys were ready for Bread of Life.

The cooking crew has changed through the years to include members from other CRHP groups, confirmation students earning hours and even second generation members.

This year’s team included original members Mike Mentz, Monty Shields, Ernie Stephens and Glenn Tebbe. Their efforts were supported by Brandon Butz, Larry Bishop, Jeremy Effing, Isaiah Kuntz, Josh Shields, Jake Stephens and Jeremiah Westerfeld.

The Decatur County Bread of Life was able to feed 350 people in need this Thanksgiving. And yes, they even had some leftovers.
 

(Monty Shields is a member of St. Mary Parish of Greensburg.)

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