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Cleveland church keeps spirit of giving alive to honor late pastor

The Cathedral of the Church of God in Christ asks for donations for their Thanksgiving meal drive
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:09 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Rubin Swift pointed at an empty seat in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of the Church of God in Christ, where Bishop Perry once sat.

“That was his chair,” Swift said. “When I look at it, it gets me kind of emotional.”

Bishop Mark Perry tragically lost his life last May in a house fire accident.

Now, Rubin Swift wants to take action.

He is seeking donations for the community services he’s been doing for years: provide thousands of Thanksgiving meals to those in need.

“I would know what he would want, and he wouldn’t let me slack, at all,” he said.

Swift has been feeding Cleveland-area homeless and lonely every November for 20 years.

Two years ago, the volunteer cook partnered with Bishop Perry’s church to prepare and serve the meals from their location.

This year, he’ll have to continue his giving nature without the man he looked up to as more than just a congregational leader:

“He wasn’t just my pastor, he was like my pops... I can’t look at pictures, videos...it’s hard.”

Swift’s community service will also be the kind of action that will help him as much as others. “I’m going to get my help by helping other people,” he said. ”If I don’t, I’d probably lose it.”

Thanks to a separate donation, Swift already has enough turkey’s for this year’s meal; he is seeking items such as green beans, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce and water.

“We fed 2090 last year,” he said. “We want to feed much more than that [this year].”

As he continues to receive donations and prepare, Swift will be moved by a newfound gratefulness to appreciate life: “Just being alive. It’s hard, but just being alive.”

Contact Rubin Swift at (216) 971-2612 for further information on the Thanksgiving drive or interest in providing donations.

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