First Baptist will again prepare, distribute Thanksgiving meals

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Elizabethton First Baptist Church is preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a large number of the community Thursday. Before the day is over and the dishes are washed and the kitchen cleaned, probably 1,200 or more people will have eaten dinner served by the 70 or so volunteers at the church. Some — more than 200 — will have dinner served to them in the church’s fellowship hall. The rest, which will include many who are working Thanksgiving, such as firemen, policemen, and pharmacy workers will have their meals delivered to them. Many of the meals are also delivered to those who can’t come to the church. Volunteers will also drive to a diner’s home and transport them to the church and back if they so desire.
It is a Feast of Sharing, which takes place Thanksgiving Day from around 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is a literal feast of a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the meal is open and free to anyone in the community who has a need, or simply wants to share this holiday with others in the community.
This is the 12th year the church has prepared the community Thanksgiving meal, which includes turkey and dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, and dessert. Lisa Bunn, who in the past has overseen the fixing of the meal, said volunteers will begin this evening by fixing the dressing, setting up the dining room and getting the delivery schedule ready. “Hopefully, they will be done by 9 p.m.,” she said.
The workers will return to the church kitchen by about 5:30 Thanksgiving morning to prepare the meal. “This year the turkey breasts have been prepared by a distributor and all the workers have to do is carve them and put them on the plate. They have been seasoned and roasted when we get them. It not only cuts down on a lot of work, but on a lot of waste,” Bunn said. This year’s order was for 38 turkey breasts.
“The workers will put gravy on the turkey breast, prepare the beans and sweet potatoes,” Bunn said.
She said some people began calling in their orders two weeks ago, others will not call in or come by until Wednesday. Deliveries of the meals begin mid-morning Thursday and the men go all over the county, even as far away as Roan Mountain to deliver the meals. Meals are taken to the elderly at Courtyard and Village East Apartments.
Among those who will eat in the church dining hall this Christmas are 75 persons from the Recovery Soldiers Ministry. “Our hope is that a lot more people will eat in with us at the church and will not have to be alone this holiday,” said Bunn.
“The meal is a church-wide thing. Our youth have made toiletry bags to give to those who may eat with us that are homeless. The children have made placemats. It’s a church-wide ministry, and is a ministry our church gladly sponsors and enjoys participating in,” she shared.
Bunn said she is happy to participate in the ministry. “It is a way to show Jesus’ love to the community and for our church members to be Jesus to our community. Many of these people who receive the Thanksgiving meals will never attend our church, but just maybe they will experience God’s love through the meal. It is a meal of love and hope and is our way of showing thanksgiving to those who need a meal, or just someone who needs to know someone cares for them,” said Bunn.
“It’s all about giving and showing love to our community and the people in it,” she said.
Those who prepared the meal and bagged them for delivery, hopefully will be through by mid-afternoon and can spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening with their families. But, as they return home, they do so with the feeling that they have made Thanksgiving merrier for many in the community.
“Our church family has been so blessed and want to share our blessings with others. In fact, we feel we get a larger blessing by giving this Thanksgiving meal than the people who are receiving it,” said Bunn.

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