DARKE COUNTY — Even before Thanksgiving approached on Thursday, churches and other organizations held Thanksgiving meals for the community.
Those held on November 12 included Rossburg United Methodist Church/Rossburg Fire Department and New Madison United Methodist Church; and those on November 20 included Greenville Church of the Brethren, Ansonia First Church of God and Oakland Church of the Brethren. Bradford Senior Citizens were invited to a Thanksgiving meal at the school on November 17, while Palestine Church of Christ is hosting a meal for the community tonight, while the First Presbyterian Church in Greenville is hosting its meal on Thanksgiving Day.
What does it take to feed a community at Thanksgiving time? It takes a lot of turkey and other traditional food for this particular holiday as well as numerous volunteers who helped make them all possible.
People at Ansonia First Church of God were busy Saturday preparing for Sunday’s meal. Heading it up were Kim Campbell and Stefani Zumbrun.
Campbell said the people at their church receive their food in a serving line on the day of the dinner. Approximately 225 meals were served Sunday.
“Cooper’s donated the turkey for us,” said the co-chairs.
According to Campbell, the youth of the church did it for approximately 14 years before she and Zumbrun took it over five years ago.
“It’s always successful,” Campbell said.
Oakland Church of the Brethren served 158 Thanksgiving meals after the morning service on Sunday and sent out 16 meals.
“That’s pretty good, but we usually have more than that,” said Diana Samsel, who heads up the kitchen for this event with the help of a lot of volunteers from the church.
The meals, she said, are served cafeteria-style.
Oakland Church has been doing this since 1968, but Samsel has been doing it for only seven of those years.
“It’s done on a free-will donation,” she said. “We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, salads and lots of pies.”
Pastor Ron Sherek said 65 to 70 meals were served at the Greenville Church of the Brethren.
“We were down from last year, but every year it fluctuates,” he said.
“This is always traditional for our church family and friends and the community,” said Mel North, who indicated the nurture committee of the Greenville Church of the Brethren makes this possible each year. “The church members are asked to bring a couple of dishes in and put them on the tables, since we don’t expect the visitors to bring in any food.”
No matter the attendance, North said they enjoy “a very good fellowship” during and after the meal.
Rossburg United Methodist Church and the Rossburg Fire Department alternate hosting the Thanksgiving meals there each year, with it being at the fire department this year.
“We take turns on cooking the main part,” said Nadine Turner of the church.
The church members prepare the turkey and the gist of the meal, while others carry in covered dishes. The food is served cafeteria-style.
“The fire department handled the rest of it this year,” Turner said. “It’s all free, but some give donations. People eat their meal and visit.”
Connie Miller reported that 150 people showed up for the Thanksgiving supper at New Madison United Methodist Church.
“They came through the line,” she said. “We probably had 20 carry-outs, too. Several were unable to come and several came who took some home.”
According to her, she and Jack Etzler cooked the mashed potatoes, noodles, green beans and gravy.
“The church has been doing this for years, even when I became a member 20 to 25 years ago,” she said. “We make everything here. The kitchen is very new in the church. Eikenberry’s did the cooking of the turkey and ham.”
Serving there is done buffet-style, featuring all the traditional foods, including mashed potatoes, noodles, oyster or plain dressing, salads, pies. The congregation, she said, brought in salads and pies, and a group made the dressing.
“This year, we started a craft club and opened it during the meal,” Miller said. “It’s a great fellowship for the community. It is a freewill offering. It starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until 6 or 6:30. We all do the dishes.”