Record number of Thanksgiving meals served

Volunteers at three local churches served a record 2,599 free homemade Thanksgiving meals to Bartholomew County residents.

“A big day, for sure,” said Pastor Charles Kennedy, pastor of Columbus Baptist Church, where about 75 volunteers served 1,142 meals, most of them home delivered. “God gets the glory.”

First Christian Church, working with Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center and Cummins Inc. volunteers, served 592 home-delivered meals with the help of more than 100 total volunteers, according to organizers.

Diane Doup with the neighborhood association called those on the receiving end “wonderfully appreciative recipients.”

In the past, First Christian has fed as many as 737 people eight years ago, according to figures.

Nearly 200 volunteers working at the Sandy Hook United Methodist Church kitchen served and delivered 865 meals on Wednesday, according to organizer Sarah Humphrey.

“It was an amazing experience,” Humphrey said,.

She added that a number of parents brought their children to help.

“It was great to see parents demonstrating love for their neighbors to their children,” Humphrey said.

The meals have nothing to do with financial need, though some recipients say they would struggle to prepare a full holiday meal because of age or infirmity, or perhaps even expense.

The meals, began especially as a way for those without nearby family to have a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with others while avoiding dining alone or battling loneliness.

Preparations changed slowly through the past few years to include mostly delivery. And then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 dramatically changed the concept.

The outreach is also significant for more than just the food, organizers have said. They have told stories through the years of people recipients sharing prayer requests of their struggles and of hurting loved ones.

They also have said that it’s important for churches to show simple love and concern especially for those without family nearby on what can be seen as an emotional holiday.