Communities#039; kindness feeds over 200 people

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 29, 2003

On Thursday, a small army of volunteers watched with great joy and pride as their planning and hard work culminated with the carving of some turkeys.

Although at times, the weather didn’t cooperate, the eighth annual Dinner on the Hill took place Thursday.

This annual event feeds those who may need a little help on the holiday or those who are shut in without a way to go.

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According to Gloria Warren, who has organized the event since its conception, between 200 and 250 meals would be served before they finished

The best part is that it is a community wide event and also an interfaith event.

&uot;This is a combination of different churches in Butler County of all denominations,&uot; Warren said.

&uot;The food is donated and we then give out food to all who are in need.

We also deliver many meals to the elderly and shut-ins who otherwise wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal.&uot;

Warren came up with the idea because she said God told her there was a need for it.

&uot;It was just a ministry that came to mind,&uot; she said.

&uot;The Lord told me there was a need and I heeded his word.&uot;

Warren’s service to God didn’t start with her because her father, the late Rev. James E. Cook who served as pastor for many years at Butler Chapel AMEZ Church.

She said her father was proud that the ministry was born inside his church and that his children were caring enough to do good deeds for others.

While Warren spends her Thanksgiving working on the project, she said it is more rewarding to her and as more get involved, more feel rewarded.

&uot;We have several clubs that also participate with us,&uot; she said.

&uot;We get names from the Department of Human Resources and we deliver meals to them.&uot;

Preparing a meal for 200 or more people is not an easy task, and it takes a small army to get it done.

&uot;I usually cook four turkeys and others donates turkeys and hams,&uot; she said. &uot;Steve Layfield usually fries a turkey and we have a man in Birmingham in who sends us a ham.

The ladies of Greenville’s First Baptist Church provide side dishes to round out the meal.

What would Turkey Day be without a good slice of pecan pie?

To make sure no one has to find out, Priester’s Pecans donates 2-and-a-half cases to the dinner.

She said the need to help is there and all people have to do is heed the call.

She added by everyone helping, the community could be saved.

&uot;I think that we must believe in what is right and we’re called into action from God and he said to go out into all the land,&uot; she said.

&uot;We must come out of the comforts of our churches and work.

That is the only way our community is going to be saved.&uot;

Another person largely responsible for organizing the dinner is Margie Kennedy of FBC.

She said she got involved while heading the singles’ group.

&uot;When I was working with the singles ministry several of our members wanted to reach out to those in need,&uot; Kennedy said.

&uot;We asked if we could help and they welcomed us in.&uot;

Kennedy said the churches involved work hard to pull it all together.

&uot;It’s just a blessing for churches to work together on something like this,&uot; she said. &uot;It is also a blessing in seeing the cooperation of a lot of people and providing them a hot meal.&uot;

On Thursday as the noon hour approached, many people worked side by side filling plates. Doris May, who volunteered on behalf of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, said the experience is rewarding.

&uot;I got involved because this is a way to give back to the community and to help out in with a worthy cause,&uot; she said.

Teenagers also took part in preparing the meals.

Travis Bradley, 14, a student at Greenville Middle School said he likes the program because it helps those in need and teaches him to be closer to God’s teachings.

Two of Greenville newest residents, Helen and Diana Nam also took part in their first Thanksgiving in Greenville by helping dish up the food.

The expressions of joy on their face showed they were clearly enjoying themselves.

Diana Nam said it was good to help the less fortunate.

Layfield, whose fried turkey is always a hit, said the experience is rewarding for him and his wife.

&uot;This is about helping out others,&uot; he said.

&uot;We are so thankful for the blessings we’ve received that it is only right that we come out here and share our good fortune with others.&uot;

He said they do a great deal of missionary work in South America, but it really surprised them to learn about the number of people who don’t have enough to eat in their own backyard.

That prompted him to take part.

Warren said the meals cost nothing to those receiving the, but that many show up at one of the area churches involved in the following days or weeks and that it is a joy to be told they’re there because of the good deeds of others.

Although this Thanksgiving is now gone, Warren said anyone wishing to take part next year can contact her and she’ll get them started.

With plans to expand the program to Georgiana each year, she’ll need more than a few extra turkeys.