Churches feed the hungry on Thanksgiving

Published 10:21 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

By Toni Jones

Special to the News-Herald

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and families are making plans to come together over a table of plentiful food to give thanks for all that they have.

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But according to Feeding America, 50.2 million Americans go hungry every day and won’t be fortunate enough to enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal this year. That’s why so many churches in Suffolk are planning to reach out with free Thanksgiving meals for the community.

Usually, the Salvation Army does a free Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless, but this year they’ve passed on the torch to the churches in the surrounding area. The Salvation Army will still be providing food to Magnolia Gardens and Oakwood Assisted Living.

On Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., dinner will be served at Suffolk Christian Church, 216 N. Main St. It is hosted by the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk, and Leigh Anne Parks of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church is serving as the chairperson for the event. “We decided to do this out of pure Christian love and a desire to reach out to the community,” said the Rev. Michael D. Halley of Suffolk Christian Church. “We just want the people of Suffolk to know that we love them.”

Some of the cooperating churches include Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, Liberty Baptist Church, Main Street United Methodist and St. Paul RZUA Church. Other churches in the area will also be involved in the festivities where turkey, ham, stuffing and dessert will be among the menu items.

Another church in the core downtown, First Baptist Church, 237 N. Main St., will hold a free dinner on Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit

For the third year, Bethlehem Christian Church, 312 Bute St., will also be holding a Thanksgiving dinner event at their place of worship. The food will be served from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

“We realize that some people may not have a place to have Thanksgiving dinner and other places choose to serve Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the month,” said Elayne Myrick of Bethlehem Christian Church. “We want people to have a place to go on the actual day of Thanksgiving.”

Metropolitan Baptist Church will also be holding a Thanksgiving dinner starting at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It is also a free event and, unlike others in the surrounding area, this is a new affair for them that they hope to turn into a tradition.

“This is a time to give thanks and reach out to the communities and give back,” said Terri Wright of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Deacon Willy Covington is the founder of the event that will be held at Metropolitan Baptist Church, which is located at 125 County St. in Suffolk.

“We are not just feeding people but we are treating them as our very special guest,” said Myrick from Bethlehem Christian Church.