Hundreds of volunteers gave up hours of their holiday to share a little kindness by preparing these meals and delivering them.
One family from Mignon Baptist Church volunteered for the first time Thursday. Kevin and Renee Love, their four sons, Jake, 14, Joe, 13, Justin, 7, and Michael, 5, filled plate after plate to be delivered.
Mrs. Love said her family wanted to help the community and this event was one way to do it.
For the eighth year, the Sylacauga communitywide Thanksgiving dinner was held at Reaching The World Bible Church. More than 220 volunteers turned out to fill plates with food, deliver meals and anything else that needed to be done.
Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement along with the Sylacauga Promise Committee, and Footwash Ministeries partnered with local schools, businesses, churches, and individuals to provide a warm Thanksgiving meal to those needing it throughout Talladega County.
When the communitywide dinner started eight years ago, 250 meals were served compared to the more than 2,000 meals Thursday.
Coosa Valley Medical Center prepared all the vegetables with the exception of what Footwash Ministries cooked. The ministries also provided paper products.
Bryan Taunton, president of Footwash Ministries, said the organization participated as a support mechanism. The ministry provided green beans, macaroni and cheese, and pecan pies.
Kentucky Fried Chicken gave the ministry the use of its kitchen free of charge to prepare the food, Taunton said.
Meanwhile, all those volunteering gave up their Thanksgiving Day to serve others.
Volunteers gathered in the auditorium at Reaching The World Bible Church before 11 a.m. Thursday. Pastor Henry Looney, whose church has hosted the event for eight years, opened with a prayer of Thanksgiving from Psalms 104 about entering God’s gates with Thanksgiving.
“We appreciate all of you coming out today,” he said. “As we give and share, we want to thank you, the schools, hospital, Footwash Ministries and others. We give thanks to God, and it is wonderful to carry his message to others through this effort. Help us be a blessing to everyone we come in contact with today. This is a wonderful ministry.”
Taylor Logan, a member of the Promise Committee that is in charge of the event, told volunteers, “Thank you for giving your time today.”
She said the dinner is a testament to the city of Sylacauga and its people.
Margaret Morton, executive director of SAFE, reminded everyone of two volunteers missing this year from the event, Henry Looney Sr., Looney’s father, and Virgie Warner, the late director of RSVP. Both died this year and had volunteered for seven years with the dinner.
In Pell City, Family Outreach Ministries delivered free meals to hundreds of residents. The ministry, which has been feeding people on Thanksgiving and Christmas for 19 years, also offers meals as take-outs and features a huge hot buffet inside the building for those who want to dine in.
The ministry averages feeding between 1,200-1,500 people during each holiday, said Tangela Harmon, minister for Family Outreach Ministries.
Approximately 90 volunteers at the Ironaton Church of Christ Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal delivered meals to residents across Talladega County.
“The volunteers delivered meals to most of the people, but we had some come here and eat,” said C.J. Johnson, committee chair for the annual event.
Johnson said about 300 total meals were delivered and served free of charge to residents in Lincoln, Talladega, Munford, Eastaboga and Renfroe.
“About five years ago, we decided to give back to the community and began giving out a Thanksgiving meal,” he said. “It lets the community know we are here. There is a letter with the meal telling them about us and to let us know if they need anything else.”
Johnson said the Ironaton Church of Christ, Eastaboga Church of Christ, Talladega Church of Christ, Munford Church of Christ and Tinney Street Church of Christ all participate in the joint effort each year.
Jeff Borelli, member of the Munford Church of Christ, said he delivered meals to families who badly needed a Thanksgiving meal.
“You see a lot of sad situations, but you leave knowing they have a Thanksgiving meal,” he said.
Johnson estimated the volunteers have fed a couple thousand people over the past five years.
Kelsie Dean Gallaher, who has volunteered for about 60 years, said it best.
“Being able to help people is a good Thanksgiving,” she said.