Donate food to York Rescue Mission, go turkey-bowling

Sean Philip Cotter

York County Commissioner-elect Susan Byrnes gazed at the 10 bowling pins standing at the end of the lane, and decided not to throw a chicken at them.

Susan Byrnes tosses a frozen turkey at some bowling pins at the York Rescue Mission Stuff-a-Truck event.

She'd go with the turkey instead.

She hefted the cold, 20-pound lump of tryptophan-filled Thanksgiving goodness, holding it by the knot in its packaging. She steadied herself, paused and then chucked the bird down the lane.

The toss was a good one, knocking down eight of the pins. But Byrnes was unable to complete the spare and knock down the final two, tossing a gutter-bird a little to the right.

It probably should be noted that the newly elected Republican commissioner wasn't just doing this by herself on a poultry-tossing flight of fancy — it was involved with a good cause. Anyone who came to donate food to the York Rescue Mission's Stuff-a-Truck event on Saturday outside of Santander Stadium in York City could do so.

This is the second of five such events by the organization this holiday season. One food drive will be held Dec. 5 at the economy store at 67 N. Main St. in Dover, another at Shrewsbury Commons on Dec. 12 and the final one on Dec. 19 at the economy story at 33 E. Maple St. in Dallastown. The event will run on each of those Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These Stuff-the-Truck events are supposed to serve a couple of purposes, said Rescue Mission director Matthew Carey. Of course, they're meant to bring in a bunch of food. Much of the grub — especially the holiday-themed variety, such as cranberries, gravy and the like — will be distributed this week in in 1,875 food baskets for those in need in the York area.

Carey said the organization, headquartered at 367 W. Market St. in York City, is looking to collect 285,000 pounds of food this year.

But they're also intended to let people know the many roles the Rescue Mission plays in the community. They have men's and women's programs, recovery services and more.

"We do more than just feed this community," he said.

But many people don't know that, Carey said, so this and the three future such events this winter are meant to allow a bit of dialogue.

Turkey bowling: So that's where likes of the the Warm 103.3-run turkey bowling came in — to make the event more of, well, an event that will draw people out to it, and cause them to hang around and chat with the Rescue Mission workers.

Anyone who knocked down all 10 pins got two tickets to enter into a drawing for prizes; those such as Byrnes who didn't take them all down got one ticket.

Despite her failure to get a strike, Byrnes was satisfied with what she insisted was her first turkey-bowling experience.

"It was a lot of fun," she said.

The frozen fowl that served as unwitting participants will likely end up on someone's dinner table, said the Warm 103.3 radio station employees running the turkey bowl.

"We're tenderizing them," cracked Melissa Mann of Warm 103.3, who came up with the turkey-bowling idea in what she credits as likely a YouTube-inspired moment of creative clarity.

Syriana Viera, 4, got a kick out of the event. Her mom, Kayla Andres, had brought some boxed food and some canned goods including cranberry sauce, so they got to hurl the future Thanksgiving dinners at the pins.

Syriana escorted the chicken — which is smaller and lighter than the more corpulent turkey — down the tarp bowling lane, pushing it along. When she got almost to the pins, she picked it up and gave it a little toss onto the pins, knocking down five and drawing cheers for the onlookers.

"Yay!" she said, hands in the air.