Churches open doors for Thanksgiving feasts

Churches open doors for Thanksgiving feasts
November 25
00:00 2015
People fellowship at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Saturday, Nov. 21, as the church serves food to the community.

By Timothy Ramsey

For The Chronicle

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, many are looking forward to turkey and all of the trimmings. But for some, that may not be an option. The congregations of Mt. Olive Baptist Church at 1301 C.E. Gray Dr. and Emmanuel Baptist Church at 1075 Shalimar Dr. attempted to alleviate that worry for as many members of the surrounding communities as possible with their turkey dinner giveaways Sunday, November 21.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church has been having some sort of Thanksgiving dinner giveaway for the last 37 years. This year they decided to have a turkey-dinner-to-go plate giveaway so that members of the community were able to come, receive a meal and enjoy it in the confides of their own homes. 

“When you see so much homelessness and hunger, what we are doing here is just a drop in the bucket. It’s just a little bit to help along the way. Thirty-seven years ago God just said it’s more to church than having Sunday morning service, taking up money, and paying bills.  It’s about helping people because if you are hungry or in need and I say God is going to bless you, that’s not going to help you. What I need to do is show you how God is going to bless you,” said Pastor Charles E. Gray when asked why the church holds this event year after year.

Mt. Olive initially started off with giving whole turkeys to the community and increased the amount year after year. They then transitioned to having the community come to the church where they set up an area in the parking lot for the visitors to eat. This year they went with carry-out plates and allowed people to eat at their own leisure.

The church van went out into the community to pick those up who were disabled or did not have transportation to make it to the church and then returned them to their homes to enjoy their meal.

A single mother of three young boys who wished to remain nameless said, “It means a lot to us to be able to come here and eat today. Normally I don’t come out, I just stay home, but it’s very nice for the church to feed us like this.”

Brother McCormick summed up the day by saying, “It’s part of our mission and we feel like it’s what God calls us to do, so we are just carrying out the Lord’s will.”

Emmanuel Baptist Church has been holding its annual turkey dinner feast for the past three years.  The women of the missionary department of the church put it to a vote and initiated the move from giving away baskets of food to the community around Thanksgiving time, to bringing people in and having them eat at the church so they could have a good meal and would also be able to fellowship with members of the church as well as the community.

Missionary President Kathy Marshall who helped organize the event said, “People are suffering from all walks of life, from the young, to the adults, to the older adults, and we can see people hurting as we move from corner to corner and we are just trying to make a difference.”

Emmanuel Baptist Church also went out into the community to bring people in to enjoy a meal. The van was sent to places such as the Bethesda Center and Samaritan soup kitchen to ask if people would like to have a meal.

A young man who went by the name of “Dave” said, “This is the first real meal I have had in a long time and I really appreciate them doing this for us.”

Marshall concluded by saying, “We try not to overwhelm them with church politics when they come. This is a day of greeting and fellowshipping and trying to do what Jesus did and just show a little love.”

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