Lakeshore News Tonight

Calumet Township Residents Thankful

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November 25, 2013 — Calumet Township residents who are struggling to fill the dinner table this Thursday can put a big check mark on the grocery list next to this Thanksgiving holiday’s meat.

“My family, we all get together every Thanksgiving and we do a pot luck. It just so happen they asked me to do the turkey. So I do have a turkey and I appreciate this turkey,” said Gary resident Rochelle Rodgers.

Rodgers is one of 300 people throughout Griffith, Gary and Black Oak who cashed in vouchers for either a turkey or ham this Thanksgiving.

“I’m going to cook it on the stove and serve it with some of my friends,” said Randy Patteson.

Indiana Central Transportation Company’s Senior Contract Manager Jamal Washington is the person responsible for dressing up dinner tables in the community this week.

He said, “I’m from Gary. I’m from poverty. When you come from that you want to try to give back.”

The bus company, which contracts with the Gary Community School Corporation, donated ten thousand dollars to the Calumet Township Office. The dollars were enough to give the hungry their choice of meat this thanksgiving.

Washington exclaimed, “I felt a ton of pride at the fact that I’m able to give back to someone. I remember back in the days when I used to each syrup sandwiches and how that made me feel. I want to make sure that I can help as many people as I can while I’m in the position that I’m in.”

Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin also reflected on her own personal struggle as a catalyst to help others.
“My mother would wonder how she was going to make ends meet for the holidays. I think how times have changed and I’m able to provide for my kids and family. It’s just so important for me, knowing that I’m able to provide for my family and for me to go out and try to find ways and means to make it a lot easier for those families that come through the township to provide for their families.”

Although residents were receiving due to their financial need…some found a way to also give.

“We don’t only just feed my family. We go to the VFW Post 1919 on Front Street. They always let my whole family come down there. We don’t only just feed my family, we feed the people that come in the place,” said Rodgers

Trustee Elgin said about 40 percent of the 100 thousand township residents are in need. But because the office is funded by taxpayer dollars, the state limits the type of help the office provides.

“We’re able to give them food vouchers. We’re able to give them clothing, shelter. The state doesn’t allow us to just give them a voucher for food baskets so it was just a blessing.”


“Gratitude for everybody that’s involved in this program and special thanks to everybody that’s helping,” said Patteson.
The bus company also partnered with the City of Gary to support the Let’s Move campaign last year.

By Renetta DuBose

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