Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the good in one’s life. It’s also a time to share in the goodness and help others who may be less fortunate. Pam Spates, along with members of area churches, is sharing many blessings through a community-wide feeding event.
The Upper Sampson Missionary Union is sponsoring the annual Feed the Community Day, Wednesday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 900 College St., Clinton. In addition to First Baptist, First Baptist, 408 College St., and Graves Memorial Presbyterian churches will be assisting with the feed.
“This is a chance for the churches to come together and feed those in the community before Thanksgiving,” Spates said.
Feeding the community is something Spates, along with her family, has been doing for many years. Even as a young child, Spates said her parents taught her to help others and those who were less fortunate and in need.
“It was laid on my heart to feed the community,” Spates said. “I’ve been doing this my whole life, feeding people the day before Thanksgiving.”
Churches who are a part of the Upper Sampson Missionary Union and Western Union Mission Baptist Association donate money that is used to purchase the majority of the food items. Other items are donated by Graves and both First Baptist churches.
During Wednesday’s event, Spates said turkey, dressing, rice and gravy, yams, string beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and desert will be prepared for those who come. In years past, Spates said over 500 people have been blessed with a warm meal.
“We usually feed over 500 people, including those plates we send away,” Spates said.
For any food that remains after the 2 p.m. serving time, Spates said plates are made for anyone who may need an extra meal to take with them. If there is food leftover after to-go plates are given out, the food is donated to local shelters. To-go meals are not given out before 2 p.m.
“Our goal is to eventually serve the meal on Thanksgiving,” Spates said. “For now, we are happy with the day before.”
While the meals are for everyone, Spates said the churches would like those who are homeless and less fortunate to get a warm meal to eat.
“We try to think about those who won’t have food for Thanksgiving,” Spates said. “We want everyone to come together and be thankful together.”
Many volunteers work throughout the day serving food, spreading love and sharing their stories of their thankfulness. Spates said it takes a lot of volunteers to make the community feed possible, with people helping prepare the food, cook the food, serve the food and clean up after the event is over.
This event, Spates added, is truly a community-wide event. Throughout the years, since the churches began feeding the community, Spates said she has seen people from all walks of life come in.
“You see people of all races, genders and ages,” Spates said. “This is for anyone who needs a hot meal. We want the community to come out.”
Carolyn Bronson, who helps Spates organize the event, said in the years past, the event has been very successful and she is looking forward to this year and seeing how many people they are able to serve.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it,” Bronson said.
The goal of the event, Spates added, is to serve God.
“By serving others, we are serving God,” Spates said. “We want to share a meal with someone who otherwise may not get a meal.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.