By Tia Lynn Ivey
Every year, hundreds of people gather at Morgan County High School (MCHS) for The Community Thanksgiving Feeding, which has been organized by Calvary Baptist Church for more than 30 years. If you need a place to go on Thanksgiving this year, you can join hundreds of others at MCHS this Thursday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In the early years, the meal was held at the church, but it wasn’t long before the number of people showing up outgrew the size of the church.
“ The demand became extremely high so we moved it to the High School,” said Angela Daniel, administrator for Calvary Baptist Church. “Our goal is to provide a meal or meals to those that for whatever reason might not have a meal for Thanksgiving.”
Last year, at least 400 people from the local community showed up at MCHS for the Thanksgiving Community Meal.
“We had more than enough volunteers. Everyone in the community is so willing to help and we certainly do appreciate that. The cafeteria staff at all of Morgan County schools prepare the turkeys and all of the trimmings,” said Daniel.
The Thanksgiving Community Meal, although began by Calvary Baptist Church, draws an extensive list of local donors and sponsors. This year’s meal features the following: Calvary Baptist Church, Morgan County NAACP, Plainview Baptist Church, The Episcopal Church of the Advent, Sheriff Robert Markley, Daniel Rather, Mayor and Mrs. Fred Perriman, NO Limit Motorcycle Club, Harvest Time Church International, Union Springs Baptist Church, Smyrna Baptist Church, Kathi Russell, Thankful Baptist Church, Centennial Baptist Church, Present Glory Baptist Church, Holland Spring Baptist Church, and Saint Paul AME Church.
“We can’t say enough about our donors and sponsors,” said Daniel. “They make donations in generous amounts to take care of the expenses for the meals. “We also thank those that sacrifice their time on Thanksgiving Day to come out and volunteer in whatever area that needs help. We also use this time to fellowship with one another.”
Reverend Hoke Smith and his wife, Annie Cotton Smith, are inspired by the Bible to do this outreach for the community every Thanksgiving. Smith reflects on two scriptures in particular while organizing the Community Thanksgiving meal. The first is found in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The second passage is found in Matthew 25:35-40: “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters; you were doing it to me!”
“Pastor & Mrs. Hoke Smith desires to be a beacon of light in the community, therefore it’s not just about Calvary,” said Daniel.
“This is about mankind from all walks of life,” added Rev. Smith. “Someone once said, ‘Never look down on anyone unless you are picking them up.’ I always ask the Lord to order my steps in His word and I try to live by those standards.”