Taylor's Operation Christmas Basket helps families in need

The City of Taylor has been the site of an extraordinary story of giving.

More than 20 churches, community organizations and local businesses provided hundreds of turkeys and boxes filled with food items to families in need. Dozens of volunteers were on hand for Operation Christmas Basket, which was held from noon to 4 p.m. December 14 at the Taylor Sportsplex.

“It’s a great day in Taylor,” said Rev. Geoffrey Drutchas of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, one of the church organizations leading this year’s effort. “We have a coalition of churches represented here, as well as groups like First Step and Community Care Services.”

Rev. Drutchas and other church representatives formed Fish and Loaves to help provide food to the community after the Taylor Goodfellows folded in 2005. This year, volunteers were on site early to get things ready for the well-planned effort. Men, women and children came from all faiths and walks of life to join in the spirit of giving.

The entire student population of Baptist Park High School of Taylor worked along side students from Allen Park High School and the smaller children of adult volunteers to pack the food boxes and help elderly and physically challenged people get them to their cars.

“It’s one thing for adults to come out to do this,” Taylor Mayor Cameron Priebe said to the students, “but having so many young people working so hard here today is really special and we thank you for volunteering to help our community.”

Amos Humphries, Youth and Outreach Pastor for Gilead Baptist Church in Taylor, was pleased that the church members could participate.
“We have so many different churches and faiths working together to make all of this happen,” he said. “It really is an amazing accomplishment.”

Last year, 275 families were served in the annual event. This year, that number increased to 417, making the event a true success for all who participated.

“As Michigan's economy continues to founder, the number of Taylor families in need increases,” said Susan Miller-Anderson, director of community development in the City of Taylor. “We are fortunate that, week in and week out, we have wonderful volunteers that turn out to help their neighbors and that, particularly during this holiday season, Taylor churches come together to ensure that Taylor families have food on their tables. The funding, food, volunteers and fellowship provided by the 'Fish and Loaves' churches was invaluable to this effort.”