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Community meal

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | November 29, 2023 1:25 AM

OTHELLO — Several Othello organizations and businesses partnered Thursday evening to provide food-insecure individuals and families with a hot Thanksgiving meal. The Cow Path Bakery organized the event in partnership with the Othello Food Bank and the Othello Church of the Nazarene which provided a venue for the holiday celebration.

Cow Path owner Janice Baginski said she has wanted to put on a Thanksgiving meal for a while, but didn’t have the capability during the bakery’s first year of business. She said it became a serious idea with the help of Jose Garza, facilities director for the Othello Food Bank. 

    Rows of different pie slices at the Thanksgiving meal event Thursday at Othello Church of the Nazarene. The Cow Path Bakery, who organized the event, provided all the desserts and baked goods for the meal.
 
 


“Jose happened to be in the bakery one day, so I just threw it out to him, like would the food bank, be able to help?” Baginski said. “I wanted it to be actually on the holiday because a lot of people will do things around the holidays, but not on the specific day.”

Garza elaborated on the food bank’s participation in the event. 

“There's never been a hot meal Thanksgiving dinner or something like that,” he said. “We just got with a whole bunch of like-minded people that have just been wanting to do some Thanksgiving meals and we were able to just come together and get it to work. This is our first time, so we're learning and we were taking notes and we're obviously seeing how many people we get, how we're going to promote this next year.”

Garza said they wanted to focus the event on individuals who really needed a meal, so they limited the focus of the event's advertising. 

“We waited a few days before the event so that it was kind of more steered to the homeless and the people that are in need,” he said. 

Garza also highlighted Othello residents’ food insecurities. 

“I feel like with the community that we have right now, there's a huge population of families that are in need, and it's only growing and really November through June, it's going to be a difficult time for some of the families here,” Garza said.

    Othello residents and food-insecure individuals enjoy a hot Thanksgiving meal Thursday at the Othello Church of the Nazarene.
 
 


Baginksi said the original idea for the event came from her faith and feeling called to help provide for a need within Othello.

“I don't know what the needs are in this community, and I don't think a lot of people really do,” she said.

The event began to pick up momentum after more and more organizations and individuals wanted to help, Baginski said.

“I just think it's really exciting that when you have an idea and you share it with somebody, how that snowball effect (happens),” Baginski said. “Or you could just keep an idea to yourself and then this wouldn't happen, right? And it just makes you wonder how many other people have things they could contribute to the community but they're too afraid…It's just really cool to see one little idea and then the amount of people that were like, ‘Oh, I want to be a part of this.’”

Other partners and helpers for the event included Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Othello food vendor Classic Grill’n and dozens of local community members

The Cow Path baked numerous desserts and rolls for the meal, volunteers provided other dishes. Classic Grillin’ — owned by Birdie and Tim Fought —  was in charge of the turkey and ham. 

“When we were called to cook the turkey and ham, it just made sense because we want to be a part of this community and help in any way we can, just plain and simple,” Birdie Fought said. 

    Knitted hats were given out for free during the Thanksgiving meal at Othello Church of the Nazarene.
 
 


FCA Othello Ambassador Rolando Cerrillo also spoke about the organization’s involvement in the event. 

“We just got to talking about getting volunteers to help out, so we wound up being a part of the event here, so we have some volunteers here,” Cerrillo said. “There are some athletes that are going to be coming a little later, but we have people serving right now that are part of FCA.”

Garza said after the event that about 60 to 75 people came for a meal. Baginski said she was hoping for more people to take advantage of the event, but was glad they could help some people. Garza said it was a good turnout for the first time ever putting on the event.

“As long as the people keep coming and we're serving those who are in need, we're definitely going to be doing this in the future,” he said.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com. Download the Columbia Basin Herald app on iOS and Android.


    The Othello Church of the Nazarene, pictured, was the venue for a Thanksgiving meal offered by the Cow Path Bakery, Othello Food Bank and Othello food vendor Classic Grill’n for Othello residents in need of food on the holiday.