The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 22, 2012

Meals, charity events mark Thanksgiving holiday

JOHNSTOWN — From the streets of Ebensburg to dining tables inside the Westmont Grove, old friends, family members and even complete strangers shared the camaraderie of Thanksgiving.

The Grove hosted a lunchtime meal, with turkey and all the trimmings, for individuals in need or anybody looking to share a few fond moments with their neighbors.

Michael Bair and Bob Stephens, owners of Shorty’s Italian Smokehouse at 1761 Goucher St., sponsored the gathering.

Meanwhile, in downtown Johns-

town, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Family Kitchen hosted its annual holiday lunch.

Together, they expected to feed more than 700 individuals.

“There are a lot of people that don’t have food to eat (on Thanksgiving),” said Greg Karcher, St. Vincent’s kitchen manager.

“They count on us to give them a meal. We try to make it as nice as we can for them.”

This was the first time Shorty’s held a Thanksgiving feast.

“We wanted to feed as many people as we could this year,” Stephens said. “We felt with the economy being so bad a lot of people need a hand this year.”

Earlier in the morning, runners, football players and hockey players gathered at different locations to raise money for good causes.

The third annual Ebensburg Turkey Trot 5K drew more than 700 runners to the streets of the county seat. Money raised will go to the St. Francis University’s Dorothy Day Center and Dauntless Fire Company.

“It’s good to help local people,” said runner Angie Solarczyk, a former Portage resident now living in Baltimore.

At the same time, the Moxham Street Hockey Reunion Game, aka the Turkey Cup, took place at Roxbury Park. The players raised funds for their friend, Todd Euen, who recently was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Johnstown chapter.

Along with lending a helping hand, the participants got to enjoy a game of hockey on a sunny, slightly cool morning with clear blue skies.

“It was a beautiful day,” Turkey Cup organizer Matt Birus said.

“Great turnout. Everybody showed up that we planned on coming out.”

The 45th annual Turkey Bowl, a charity football game, kicked off at 10 a.m. inside Point Stadium.

With money raised by the 2012 contest, the event has now collected more than $500,000 throughout the years for Easter Seals Western Pennsylvania.

“That’s just a wonderful thing to do,” said Ed Sheehan, a Turkey Bowl player.

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