Several churches and groups in the T&D region are working to make sure people get a hearty meal over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Williams Chapel AME Church will begin handing out hot meals on Wednesday. Several groups and churches are also offering Thanksgiving meals.
Bennie Brown, a member of Williams Chapel, said that while the church will not have its traditional formal meal this year, there are plans for a Thanksgiving food giveaway to be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the church. . which is located at 1198 Glover St., Orangeburg.
“On average, we usually make more than 400 meals. We also have drivers that take you to the community. We have a few people that we will bring the meals to, and then we will have the people that will come and pick up some dinners. Everything is going to be taken out,” she said.
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Meals will include turkey, stuffing, ham, chicken, seasoned rice, kale, green beans, along with a bagel and pie and pie for dessert.
The church normally hands out bags of groceries every Wednesday, along with cooked meals every second and fourth Friday. Brown said the need has increased.
“Our number has increased in terms of the community coming to the church to pick up food, basic things that they need. With our ministry, what we try to do is feed as many people as we can,” he said.
Brown said he appreciates the church’s soup kitchen volunteers and community partners, including businesses, who donate to the church’s food ministry.
“The volunteers who work in the soup kitchen have been dedicated and outstanding people. We wouldn’t be able to do it without your help. We have had some wonderful business partners, along with donations from other churches, supermarkets and Harvest Hope,” she said.
Brown continued: “The church has also helped us tremendously. The church has provided funds and we have had grants that have helped us with this as well.”
He said the Thanksgiving meal is just another opportunity to give back to the community.
“There is a great need. We feel that God has called us to help feed his people. So we feel compelled to continue this ministry, which we do all year long. It is a blessing for us. We have been blessed. So we want to bless others in the same way that he has blessed us,” Brown said.
On Thanksgiving Day, five churches will come together for a Thanksgiving Feast.
It will take place from 11 am to 2 pm at the First Baptist Church of Orangeburg. The event is free and open to the public. Meals will be takeout only and will be distributed at Saint John Street Church. People will be able to walk or drive for their meals.
“We do it for Jesus. We must go out into the world and spread the good news, and this is how we do it. We love Jesus,” said Norma Sells, a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church.
Turkey, ham, dressing, rice and gravy, green beans, macaroni and cheese, yams, and desserts will be among the dishes served.
Participating churches include Orangeburg First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Cornerstone Community Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Trinity UMC.
“It is what we can do during this season. It’s better when we can sit and eat with them, but we can’t do that now. Our goal is to eventually have him at the (Downtown Pavilion). I miss sitting down and talking and meeting people,” Sells said.
Other groups are also showing their love for their communities on Thanksgiving.
Jean Self, secretary of the First Baptist Church of Denmark, said the church continues the work of late church member and Denmark resident Mary Polasky.
Polasky, who died on September 25, 2021, was a member of Feed My Sheep Ministries. The ministry is a coalition of various churches in Denmark and members of the Denmark-Olar High School class of 1983. He has hosted two community Thanksgiving dinners over many years.
Self said while Polasky is missed, the church will continue his work.
A community dinner will be distributed Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm at St. Phillips Apostolic Church in Olar.
Another Thanksgiving community lunch will be distributed on Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm at Denmark-Olar High School, Heritage Highway in Denmark.
This year bags of non-perishable food will be given away.
Self said the food giveaway will be takeout only. He also said it’s necessary and it’s a way to give back to the community.
“Everything has tripled in price. So that has made a big difference. We do it out of necessity and to help people. There are also a lot of people who don’t have anyone on Thanksgiving either. So we feed them,” Self said.
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