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Early Thanksgiving meal brings 250 people together

An idea by the local Methodist church congregation to serve a community Thanksgiving meal was a huge success, according to the pastor who spearheaded the event.

11/25/14 (Tue)

Food and fellowship... Area residents enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal on Sunday. The meal, put on by the Methodist Church, was a way to get community members together for food and fellowship, according to Pastor Joddy Meidinger.

By Marvin Baker

An idea by the local Methodist church congregation to serve a community Thanksgiving meal was a huge success, according to the pastor who spearheaded the event.

Pastor Joddy Meidinger said 250 people, including 18 shut-ins were served during the 2 1/2-hour meal Sunday afternoon, despite inclement weather.

Meidinger, who called it mission work in the community, was as pleased with the community response to the event as he was the event itself.

“We had numerous non-church partners assist with funding ($3,200) and discounts on food and donated paper items,” he said. “Several families and individuals gave generous donations of nearly $1,000.”

In addition, many of the volunteers worked in the school’s kitchen to prepare a meal for the hungry visitors. During the planning of the event, 300 was the anticipated capacity.

“The school allowed us to use their kitchen, auditorium and commons area,” Meidinger said. “It breaks down some of the church vs. state barriers in my opinion.”

Meidinger said he has since heard from numerous people who enjoyed the traditional late November meal.

“My favorite was from a young mom who has only just started attending our church with her husband and 1-year-old daughter,” Meidinger said. “‘I think I got a couple of young moms to come to church next Sunday. Would you mind if I offered nursery care?”’

People thanked congregation members for the meal and wonderful fellowship, according to Meidinger, some said it was about time something like this took place and one person asked if it will be an annual event, and if so, they would like to help volunteer next time.

“It was an unqualified event... and yes, we plan to do it again next year, as well as other similar events throughout the year, the pastor said. “There is no reason the church in general can’t be a catalyst, partnering with non-church entities to get these kinds of events done.”

But it wasn’t just a meal. The event had live music and free, 8x10 portraits were available for families attending.

“We offered the free family portraits,” Meidinger said. “About 30 families took advantage of it.”

According to Meidinger, this is the tip of the iceberg, albeit a very large iceberg.

Initially there was some skepticsm within the congregation whether or not a small group of people could logistically carry out an event this large.

“This time it’s a dinner,” Meidinger said. “Maybe next time it’s cleaning up after a storm. We (the church) have become irrelevant and it’s time we reclaimed what we’ve lost, but it will take muscle and action.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!