#039;Dinner on the Hill#039; slated for Thursday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

Some of the city’s less fortunate citizens will have an extra reason to count their blessings this Thanksgiving Day. A traditional turkey or ham dinner with all the trimmings will be served to them free of charge, courtesy of a hard-working group of caring volunteers from across the community.

Plans are in motion for the return of &uot;Thanksgiving Dinner on the Hill&uot; to the Camellia City. The annual event, now in its ninth year, brings together churches of every denomination, and people from all walks of life, says Margie Kennedy of First Baptist of Greenville. Kennedy first became involved in the project several years ago while leading the singles’ ministry at FBC.

&uot;Several of our people wanted to reach out to people in need…we asked if we could help [with the dinner] and they welcomed us in,&uot; Kennedy explains, adding, &uot;It is just such a rewarding experience for all of us involved.&uot;

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Doing good for others

The annual charity event is actually the brainchild of local teacher Gloria Warren, a member of the Butler Chapel AME Zion Church. Showing compassion for the people of the community seems to be in Warren’s blood. Her father, the late Rev. James E. Cook, served for many years as pastor for the church, and Warren says he was proud the Thanksgiving ministry was born inside his own church. &uot;He was happy his children were caring enough to do good deeds for others,&uot; Warren comments.

Warren and her fellow Butler Chapel members begin planning for next year’s event &uot;as soon as this year’s dinner is over,&uot; she says.

During the 2003 event, more than 250 dinners were served, and Warren says she anticipates an equal or greater number of meals served in 2004.

&uot;We get the names of those in need from DHR, and we also get names of the sick and shut-ins from our churches. We deliver meals to those who can’t come out to eat with us,&uot; she explains.

Approximately 20 area churches and clubs have already committed to assist with the project.

&uot;My church, Butler Chapel, makes sure we have all the basics to do this meal and then we welcome all the contributions from the other churches and groups,&uot; Warren explains.

A joy for all

The annual Camellia City event has become a Thanksgiving tradition worthy of a long-distance journey. &uot;We have one family that comes down from North Carolina to help us with this dinner every year…I spoke to them a couple of months ago and they said, ‘We plan to be there,’&uot; Warren comments.

As for those who would like to pitch in and help serve on next Thursday, Warren says, &uot;They are certainly welcome to come.&uot; Volunteers will need to be in place no later than 10 a.m., with serving starting at 11 a.m., says Kennedy.

It’s a great experience for both those being fed and those serving them, Warren says.

&uot;I believe we look forward to the fellowship as much as the food each year – it’s a joy to us.&uot;

For more information on &uot;Dinner on the Hill&uot; and ways to volunteer, contact Gloria Warren at 382-7861.