More than 300 served at community Thanksgiving
By Kathryn Purcell
It's a labor of love - one that, this year, fed Thanksgiving dinner to more than 300 Morgan County residents thanks to the efforts of about 75 volunteers.
The annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for the disadvantaged and shut-in allowed 375 people, including 77 at the Morgan County Detention Center and 55 at the Penfield Christian Recovery Center, to eat a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.
Dinner consisted of turkey, dressing, rice, gravy, string beans, potato souffle, a roll and sweet tea.
Sponsors of the event cover the cost of food, and the work involved with the event is entirely a volunteer effort.
This Thanksgiving Day tradition isn't new; it began over 20 years ago, a joint effort between Calvary Baptist Church and St. Paul A.M.E. Church.
When the event got too big to be held at Calvary Baptist, they moved to the cafeteria at Morgan County High School, where the dinner has been held for the past five years.
"It started as a small community thing with two churches over 20 years ago," Lillian Mozelle Gilbert, president of the Thanksgiving Day dinner ministry at Calvary Baptist, said. "For the last five years we've been using the school. We needed a bigger space."
This year saw an increase in the number of people attending, according to Gilbert. She credits, at least in part, the use of the church's bus for that.
"We used the Calvary Baptist Church Bus Ministry to bring people from the community to eat with us," Gilbert said.
According to Angela Wilson, go-between for the event's sponsors and the school, the event fills a need in the community.
"We saw a need in the community to reach out to people," Wilson said. "We saw people we knew who were shut-in, sick, who didn't have family, so we cook for them." Along with Gilbert and Wilson, Angela Daniel, Calvary Baptist Church secretary, Carolyn Stewart, co-ordinator of deliveries to shut-ins, and Misty McDaniel, the event's kitchen co-ordinator, orchestrated this year's Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Together, they would like to thank this year's sponsors - Calvary Baptist Church, Flat Rock Baptist Church, Morgan County NAACP, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Holland Springs Baptist Church, No Limit Bike Club, St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Mount Perry Baptist Church, Plainview Baptist Church and Episcopal Church of the Redeemer - and the volunteers that made this effort possible.