Group launches free dinner for Thanksgiving

It's a perfect storm of people, place, opportunity and good intentions.

The result is the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, an opportunity for folks without the resources, ability or company to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

The people are really at the heart of this great idea. Wanda Taylor belongs to a small group at her church, Mount Pleasant United Methodist, for singles over 40.

She says there are about eight members now, and they really hope that number won't grow since "something bad" - death or divorce - generally has to happen to swell their ranks.

Awhile back, Taylor's small group took a turn at providing a meal for the homeless shelter in Concord.

That experience got them thinking about what else they could do to help hungry people, or lonely people. They began to dream of providing a Thanksgiving meal for the community.

Next comes the part about the place: Last spring, Mount Pleasant United Methodist completed a new building project.

The result is a spacious building called The Lighthouse, which can be used for a variety of purposes. Now the church has enough space to feed hundreds of people at a time.

Turner and her friends realized that with the new building, they had the perfect opportunity to share a meal with their community. So they began to enlist help.

They found it at six other churches: Bethel Bear Creek, Mount Olive Lutheran, St. John's Lutheran, Friendship United Methodist, Glorieta Baptist and First Baptist Mount Pleasant - as well as at Mount Pleasant High School clubs, including the Bible Club and the AWSUM Club (Athletes Who Share Unselfish Moments). They will provide menu items and volunteers.

Taylor said they will need lots and lots of helpers for setting up, cooking, serving and cleanup.

Though she hopes people will call ahead to let her know that they plan to attend, anyone is welcome to come and eat without a reservation.

So no matter what the advance numbers say, Taylor said, they will be cooking for a large number of people.

In fact, she's hoping 300 or 400 will attend.

Here's where the good intentions enter the picture: Taylor said the whole idea of Thanksgiving is being with other people.

She and her small group understand loneliness, and they know they don't want anyone to be alone or hungry on this holiday.

So they're inviting anyone to come for any reason at all.

If you can't buy Thanksgiving dinner for yourself or your family, if you don't have anyone with whom to share your meal, or if you just don't feel like cooking, you are welcome at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The dinner is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 24 at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church. The menu includes turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, bread, dessert and drinks. If you'd like to attend, or if you'd like to volunteer to help, call Wanda Taylor as soon as possible at 704-436-6563.