Community organizations and churches throughout The T&D Region are joining hands and hearts to share a bounty of Thanksgiving meals and God’s love with others.
Orangeburg resident Dr. Henry Smith, who grew up in the city’s Edisto Drive community, will be giving back to his community and surrounding areas with a pre-Thanksgiving dinner to be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the J.W. Stroman Community Center. The dinner is free and open to the public.
Smith said he wanted to share his blessings with others with the dinner.
“God has been good to me, so I just want to give back to everybody. I’m in a position now where I can share and give and be some kind of light for someone in this world,” Smith said.
Deloris Frazier said, “You can’t beat it. All he wants to do is give back to the community. It makes you feel good to know that somebody who is so successful is giving back in a positive manner.”
Exodus Baptist Church at 2431 Charleston Highway in Orangeburg is also holding a Thanksgiving meal and clothes give-away on Saturday, Nov. 22. A fellowship program will begin at 10 a.m., with the meal beginning at noon.
Also, a community dinner will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Robert E. Howard Middle School cafeteria in Orangeburg through Christina Grant’s work with Garden City, Ga.-based Feed the Hungry Inc. For more information, call 843-450-3761.
Salvation Army Capt. Wanda Long said her organization is partnering with Roy Chandler, owner of Ferse’s 5&10 on Russell Street, to provide meals for seniors 50 and over.
“They don’t necessarily have to be a senior, but we’re trying to target that age group. Mr. Chandler is cooking and providing the meal and we’re limiting it to the first 100 people that sign up,” Long said.
She said seniors can sign up for their free meal ticket from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Salvation Army office at 813 Nottingham St. in Orangeburg. Individuals can also call the office at 803-534-6805 on Friday.
Chandler said his business has partnered with the Salvation Army on other holiday initiatives, something which he is glad to do.
“They weren’t able to fix dinners last year, so they asked me if we could fix them. It kind of worked out pretty good for both of us. We just work together, and a lot of those people are my customers, too. We give them a full-course turkey meal,” Chandler said.
Dinners, which can be eaten inside or carried out, will be fixed from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
“We’re closed on Thursday, but the meal will be a full-course meal of turkey, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce and a roll. This year we’re also going to have sweet potato casserole,” Chandler said.
Long said the Salvation Army has also donated food items for other Thanksgiving meals.
“We’re kind of partnering with a little bit of everybody to spread the love. If you can touch one life through what you do in the name of Jesus, it’s all worth it,” Long said.
Eight churches have combined to make the Orangeburg Thanksgiving Feast and Praise event a reality. The feast will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 27, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. The event is free and open to the public.
“It’s a good, hearty meal. We do this to provide a feast for those who are in need, but it’s open to the entire community, especially those who don’t have anywhere else to go or any family. They’re welcome to attend,” said Dianna Murphy of Cornerstone Community Church.
Murphy, who is assisting with this year’s meal, said approximately 675 people were served last year with a bountiful turkey feast.
Turkey and dressing, rice and gravy, green beans, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese and cranberry sauce are among the scrumptious items which will be served up. Rolls, desserts and lemonade and tea will also be provided.
“It’s also a time for fellowship and just meeting people. We also pray about people’s needs and just try to show them the love of Jesus. The more churches and community organizations that get involved, the more people we can serve,” Murphy said.
Participating churches include but may not be limited to: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Cornerstone Community Church, Unity Fellowship Community Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Luke Presbyterian Church, Trinity United Methodist Church and Kingdom Life Ministries.
Murphy said help is also coming from businesses and other community organizations, including Food Lion, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Beta Zeta Omega Chapter, Morningside of Orangeburg and the Salvation Army.
“We’re preparing for 800 people. We take nothing out and donate whatever’s left over to community organizations who could use it,” Murphy said.
Denmark resident Mary Polasky, who attends Denmark First Baptist Church, said she is also a member of Feed My Sheep Ministries. The ministry includes a coalition of several Denmark churches and members of the Denmark-Olar High School Class of 1983.
Polasky said the ministry is providing two turkey lunches on Thanksgiving Day. One will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 27, at St. Phillips Holiness Church in Olar, with the other to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Denmark-Olar High School on Heritage Highway in Denmark. Turkey and all the trimmings will be served.
“We’re also giving away clothes at both places. Everyone’s welcome. We felt the need to do this at our church back in 2007. It was just a way to reach out into the community to tell them that we care and that God loves them. That’s what it’s all about,” Polasky said.
She added, “The first year we served about 150 plates out of church and then when the Class of ‘83 came in, it just mushroomed. The Lord has blessed us tremendously. Last year we served over 1,000 plates.”
Polasky said food is also distributed throughout surrounding counties, with it all being “a way a way to reach out and show people that you care.”
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