The Rev. Sheldon Hamblin, the Barbadian-born Rector of St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, says parishioners and friends on Thanksgiving Day participated in the Episcopal church’s distribution of about 200 hot meals during its inaugural Thanksgiving meal initiative.
Fr. Hamblin said the food and delicacies were distributed to the community, including the homeless, at the Plaza on Ocean and Parkside Avenues, East 18th Street and Church Avenue, Brooklyn, and at a Men’s Shelter on Staten Island.
“Members and friends of St. Paul’s moved into action and donated their time, resources and culinary skills to make a reality of this first, annual Thanksgiving Day meal distribution,” Fr. Hamblin told Caribbean Life over the weekend.
One recipient of the brown shopping bag containing the goodies said: “This is so good. There is so much in the bag; may I get another one for a friend in the park?”
Fr. Hamblin said the Thanksgiving initiative was conducted “in the spirit of loving service.
“In the center of a pandemic, the spirit of giving is breaking down barriers,” he said. “The congregation of St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, along with their friends, made this Thanksgiving Day more meaningful, unlike any other Thanksgiving Day in the past.
“So, rather than having large gatherings, or spending time with immediate family and/or friends, the charge was to do something different from the norm and celebrate by loving service, connecting and sharing with others within the Parish of St. Paul’s Church,” added Fr. Hamblin about the Episcopal church in the Diocese of Long Island.
“As we look around at the reality of our lives, we have much for which to be thankful,” he continued.
Alfeo Christie, a parishioner, described the Thanksgiving distribution as “A Mission of Community Serving the Village of Flatbush.”
Fr. Hamblin said the genesis of the Thanksgiving Day meal emanated from the church’s feeding of frontline and essential workers earlier in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said about 500 meals were distributed to nursing homes, hospitals and police precinct staffers during that time, stating that, “as the COVID-19 numbers declined, the feeding came to an end.
“However, the plight of hunger remains evident,” said Fr. Hamblin, adding that St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, under his leadership, and in collaboration with one Mr. Kash, owner of De Islands Caribbean Restaurant, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, embarked on a feeding ministry, dubbed “St. Paul’s Feed the Hungry.”
Fr. Hamblin said this is conducted every Wednesday evening at the Ocean and Parkside Avenue Plaza in Flatbush.
“It is hoped that this feeding will continue into the Spring of 2021,” he said. “This is one way that the congregation at St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush can better assess the needs and issues in the community, and endeavor to create sustainable and transformative solutions.
“’For I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me,’” added Fr. Hamblin, quoting the Gospel according to St. Matthew 25:35-40.