Midlands churches preparing Thanksgiving feasts for those less fortunate - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Midlands churches preparing Thanksgiving feasts for those less fortunate

(Columbia) Nov. 27, 2003 - Some local churches are lending a helping hand to make sure everyone gets a heaping helping this Thanksgiving.

Saint Peter's Church and First Baptist Church have teamed up for the 13th year to bring in loads of stuffing, turkey and other goodies to the Carolina Coliseum. About 350 people will come together on Thursday to serve the poor, homeless and elderly. Volunteers will be serving lunch Thursday at the Carolina Coliseum from 11:00am until 1:00pm.

Robert Keeder, the project's coordinator at St. Peter's Church, says, "It's an effort that needs to be done. It's necessary in all communities, across the world, country, and the state of South Carolina. We are very fortunate to have as many people that want to be active in Thanksgiving efforts." The churches are prepared to feed about 1100 on Thursday.

Chappelle Memorial AME Church had a one-woman cooking machine preparing a special dinner for Thursday. Edith General was up all night before Thanksgiving cooking for the dozens of people who need a hot dinner and some holiday warmth, a tradition she's kept up the past seven years. The church is serving dinner Thursday starting at 11:00am.

John Ford Middle School in Calhoun County is hosting a community project to feed the needy. Volunteers plan to feed about 200 people between 11:00am and 1:00pm.

Each year Columbia's Grace Christian Ministries on Monticello Road adds something to its liturgical menu, "It's a special recipe." After a special church service, congregants donate and serve turkey and trimmings for more than 100 people in nursing homes at the "Room at the Table Thanksgiving Celebration."

On Wednesday Edna Smith attended with some of her friends from the Life Care Center, "I just think it's fabulous they would open up the church and have people do all this work. It doesn't come easy."

She says she feels grateful and thankful, "I feel like it's very important to reach out to those who can't get out and do for themselves and they need help. It just lifts up their life."

The project was the vision of church pastor Robert Bishop, "I just want to thank God for what he blessed me and my family with by helping others." He says some of the people fed at Grace Christian might not otherwise have had Thanksgiving dinner.

City Year volunteer Shameika Johnson says the experience makes her want to do more year round, "Why can't we give them a call, send a card, visit them in their homes that they're in?"

About 200 homeless men and women went to the Oliver Gospel Mission for a Thanksgiving meal Wednesday evening. The mission feeds the homeless each night of the year, but says its annual Thanksgiving banquet is the busiest night of the year.

Volunteers at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church's Operation Turkey hope to serve more than 1500 in Lexington County. Members of Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington will be serving warm meals from 9:00am until 10:00am on Thursday. They will also deliver food around Lexington County.

reporting by Jennifer Miskewicz

updated 3:31pm by Chris Rees

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