11/23/13 — Local congregation provides Thanksgiving dinner for 350 families

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Local congregation provides Thanksgiving dinner for 350 families

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 23, 2013 10:53 PM

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Thanks to the help of Piggly Wiggly and Walmart, Goldsboro Worship Center was able to put together 350 bagged Thanksgiving dinners that included canned vegetables, cornbread, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cake mixes, and a whole turkey.

People began lining up by 10:30 a.m. Saturday for the Thanksgiving food basket giveaway at Goldsboro Worship Center, even though the baskets were not scheduled to be handed out until 1 p.m.

"They knew there was going to be a large crowd and they wanted to go ahead and get in line, but we are pretty organized," said the Rev. Michael Hamm, student and outreach pastor.

Among the first to arrive was Freddy Williams of Goldsboro, who arrived at 10:30 a.m. and was still second in line.

"I think it is a blessing for them to do their duties for the community to help the community," he said. "I think they have a good heart. God gave them a good heart. I think the Lord is going to bless them for them blessing us.

"The main thing is, it is just a blessing to be here to see this. There are so many who did not make it to this day."

Darnell Smith of Goldsboro said friends told him about the event.

"This is my third year here," he said. "I think it is great. I think it is a great thing they are doing. A lot of people need this help. I think it is great."

As they waited, volunteers at the church on New Hope Road quickly unloaded a trailer of frozen turkeys, placing them in plastic bags. To speed up the process, traffic was divided into two lines so that four vehicles at a time could be loaded with the turkeys and all of the fixings needed for a Thanksgiving meal.

"We have tremendous help. The church just poured into this," Hamm said. "They have contributed resources that we can do this. I think last year they did 250 and this year we are prepared to do 350. We had a huge help from Piggly Wiggly, and Walmart has really stepped up. They gave us a great deal on purchasing the turkeys.

"We are estimating that we will be able to feed over 1,500 people to 2,000 people. So it is more than 350 meals, it is individuals that we will hopefully be able to bless and make a difference in this Thanksgiving. I know the economy has been tough and we are kind of hoping to help in that situation."

The church has a registration form where people can simply walk in and sign up to receive a basket of food, Hamm said.

"Our main target, we fax or email the counselors and social workers at our local schools," he said. "So we just got the word out to them. That was the only advertising we did. They know where the real needs are in our schools, the students and their families. So we have a lot from all across the counties from the schools. I am the youth pastor and they are the heart of my ministry. So we just wanted to reach out to them as well."

Church members and friends were packing the food.

"We actually came last night and set up," Hamm said. "We had everything set up inside last night and this morning at 11 a.m., our church family showed up and we started the process of bagging all of the packages together. We just got back from Walmart with the turkeys."

Walmart provided a price break on turkeys and Piggly Wiggly with all of the other parts of the meal, he said. People have made donations as well.

"They gave us a really good price," he said. "We had a prayer meeting on a Saturday morning. A lady who doesn't attend church here she showed up, spent some time here in prayer. She heard about our project and she wrote us a check for $800 that morning. So we have had donations.

"Our secretary was having lunch one morning and somebody gave her a $100 bill and she brought that to us. So we have had a tremendous output of support of people helping us. It is work but there is fellowship among us. We want to be a blessing to others, but it turns out that we are blessed as well just by the camaraderie, the fellowship and the hard work. It just builds unity in the church."