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Thanksgiving meals offered by area churches

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By Rebecca Morris

For more than a dozen years, Leitchfield United Methodist Church has opened its doors and kitchen to all of Grayson County, offering a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone.
The church, at 201 W. Main St., transforms its “The Rock” fellowship hall into feast central. Turkey, all the trimmings, desserts and beverages are served by volunteers from tables along the perimeter of the room. The rest of the space is used for seating.
This year, the meal again will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 23, men’s ministry president David Martin said.
Church members volunteer their time to cook for and serve others, giving back to those in the community who are shut in, don’t have family to gather with on the holiday or can’t afford a traditional holiday meal. In addition to serving at the fellowship hall, volunteers also will bring carryout meals to those who can’t leave home.
The meal started as a project of the men’s ministry, but has since grown to be church-wide effort, he said.
“Without the entire church’s involvement in it, we couldn’t do it — no way,” he said.
Meal prep actually begins Wednesday morning, when turkeys and hams will be carved, potatoes mashed and bread crumbs transformed into stuffing. The volunteers return to The Rock’s kitchen at 4 a.m. Thanksgiving day to begin re-heating food, preparing drinks and setting up the seating.
Last year, 500 meals were served, Martin said. Carry-outs are offered to shut-ins, although deliveries are restricted to a five-mile radius of the church.
He stressed the doors are open to all.
“Even people who can afford a meal don’t like to eat alone” on holidays, he said.
The meal is paid for through donations — including money from the National Wild Turkey Federation — and proceeds from the men’s ministry’s annual pig roast.
And it can take a lot to pay the bill. Martin said they’ll likely buy and mash 180 pounds or more of potatoes. They’ll roast 18 turkeys and four full hams.
“We’ll feed people until we run out of food,” he said, adding they did run out of some dishes last year before the crowds eased.
Members of the community step up that day as well, Martin said, offering monetary donations and volunteering to help serve.
Anyone is welcome to lend a hand, but the meal’s organizers might not take them up on it at that point, he cautioned.
“We like to keep people busy. If we’ve got enough people helping at that point, we might turn them down,” he said.
Besides staffing the kitchen, volunteers man serving lines, bus tables and make sure drinks are refilled or forgotten silverware and napkins is delivered.
Delivery requests must be made by calling 270-259-4019 before noon Nov. 22.

Caneyville’s New Harvest Baptist Church is hosting a community meal starting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22. It too is free and open to everyone. Volunteers will be delivering food to area shut-ins starting around 4 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 270-879-3103.