Volunteering at Thanksgiving

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Volunteers turned out in record numbers on Thanksgiving Day at First Baptist Church, Main Street to work with the Salvation Army serving dinners to people in the community and my son and I were proud to be among those numbers.

According to Captain David May, Corps officer, about 80 volunteers reported to the church to be useful in some way.

I was surprised at the young people who showed up because the day included work and lots of it at a steady pace and they could have been home relaxing in front of the TV, or spending time with family and friends. Among these youngsters was a group from Nansemond River High School, a boy scout troop and children with parents who were also volunteering.


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We were told to be at First Baptist at 10 a.m. and feeding time was scheduled to begin promptly at 11 a.m. About 10:15 a.m. when May thought that enough people were present to hear instructions, he called everyone to the center of the floor.

May then called out duties and asked the members of the group to raise their hands when they heard a duty called out that they would like to perform. People then went off to their respective duties.

Since there were more volunteers than duties that had to be done, May asked those without assignments to mingle among the crowd.

&uot;There may be someone here eating in a corner all by himself. If you see someone like that, go over and strike up a conversation with them because you may be the only person that he talks to today,&uot; he said.

Everything was really organized and ran very smoothly. There was a section of four people who served those wishing to eat in and more people who served in the cafeteria placing food in take-out styrofoam

plates. Then there were two volunteers serving beverages and coffee.

Dinners consisted of turkey with dressing and gravy, green beans, yams, roll, apple or potato pie, coffee, tea sweetened and unsweetened.

After everything was over, 453 dinners had been served without any part of the meal falling short of food portions. No one was asked any questions and no one was turned back or refused a meal who came through those doors.

The fellowship was good, and the people worked together and ate together in a very mannerly order.

At 1 p.m. the dinner came to a close so that volunteers could spend time with their families.

The major clean-up then fell into full swing. Brooms were pull out, tables and chairs were gathered up and put aside until everything was in place as it was before the dinner even started.

Everyone who volunteered could also enjoy meals after everyone was served or take a meal home. However, many chose just to come out to help and decided to go home to be with their families for Thanksgiving dinner.

I learned from one of the board members of the Salvation Army that each one of them that included about 21 members, were responsible for cooking two turkeys. Many of these members cooked those two turkeys for the Salvation Army and one for their own family.This is a good example unselfishness and love for our fellowman.

All of you who did not volunteer at First Baptist on last Thursday can volunteer in another way with another big project – by making donations to The Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund. Many underprivileged children in our area are depending on those who are a little more fortunate than they are to help them have a good Christmas.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist at the News-herald. She, can be contacted at 934-9617.