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Family feeds shelter's homeless

November 24, 2000

Family feeds shelter's homeless



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


When the Reel family heard the cold weather shelter would be at their church on Thanksgiving Day they knew they had to fix dinner for the shelter's homeless guests.

Fixing a turkey dinner at First Christian Church on Potomac Avenue to feed 45 people, including family members, wasn't a problem given the family's experience.

They often take turns hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for their large family, with Vivian Hicks cooking Thanksgiving dinner and Wilda Gift fixing Christmas dinner.

Hicks and Gift are two of the five Reel siblings who coordinated the dinner. Their siblings are Sam Reel, Frank Reel and Mary Beggarly.

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With the five siblings and their cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and in-laws, the family had a cooking army of about 20, Sam Reel said.

Gift, the second youngest, was the boss - as often was the case when they were younger, her siblings said.

The key was giving everyone an assignment, Gift said.

Her husband brought the supplies into the kitchen, Beggarly helped peel potatoes, and Beggarly's grandchildren served dinner.

The family began on Wednesday, cooking four turkeys and slicing bread, celery and onion for stuffing.

The family received donations for the dinner, including eight pies from Wal-Mart and 25 loaves of bread from a family friend. The shelter will keep the leftovers.

Gift said guests at the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless (REACH) Cold Weather Shelter loved the dinner.

"They've had two plates, some of them," she said.

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