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Giving Thanks by Giving Back

By Chris Workman, Director of Environmental Services, Koontz-Bryant, P.C.

As the pastor of a three-point Methodist charge, my wife Karen established Asbury United Methodist Church in McKenney, Virginia as a food distribution center for the Richmond Food Bank. Many people in the community come by the church from time to time to receive food, supplies, and fellowship.

To serve these people and to meet more folks in the community, Pastor Karen offered a dinner on Thanksgiving to provide a great meal to the community and to give the church members a chance to get involved with “the business of the church.” It started small, with about 15 people interested in coming to the Thanksgiving Dinner. The church members rallied to the idea, providing five cooked turkeys, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, stuffing, pies, eggs, desserts, and much, much more. Before long, we anticipated as many as 90 guests.

Plans were made, turkeys were cooked, and the fellowship hall was prepared. At the appointed time, our neighbors started to arrive. Because some of the folks had family members who were unable to attend, they left with ten or more boxed meals for their husbands, friends, and neighbors. In the end, very little food was left over. A good time was had by all, including all the folks who helped prepare, serve, and clean up.

The most important part was that the community learned that they have a friend in the local Methodist Church. Even though some have come every time the Food Bank brought in food, many had never sat down to chat and join in the fellowship. They learned that the church is a place you can come during times of need: hunger, loneliness, fatigue, cold, hot, or heavy-burdened.

As a participant, I received so much more than I contributed. I got a chance to spend the day with my wife, meet new people, and “chew the fat” with old friends. I was even able to stay within my diet by working hard and eating only what I wanted: no “eat it all or it gets thrown away” mentality this Thanksgiving Day!