There will be plenty of turkey to go around this Thanksgiving.
The congregation at First United Methodist Church has purchased 40 turkeys for its annual community Thanksgiving dinner, and preparations will begin Wednesday.
For more than 30 years, the church has offered a free Thanksgiving dinner to anyone in the community, regardless of income.
“We started out by having a few people we thought we’d help out, and it just kept growing,”¿church trustee Bob Jackson said.
Dinner is served at the church from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and deliveries will be made all morning throughout Clark County.
“It’s an outreach program to try to help the people of Winchester and Clark County,” said Rick Mink, a member of FUMC who organizes the dinner each year.
The dinner continues to grow each year, and Mink said volunteers are preparing for about 2,000 people.
“We have people from all over to help serve meals and prepare,” Mink said.
All food is purchased with money donated specifically for the event, and no church funds are required, Mink said. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds pitch in to help cook, clean and serve and deliver meals. Organizers expect at least 100 people to deliver meals, and 25 working at the church.
“It’s amazing to see the outpouring of people. Our church gets excited every year about this,” Mink said.
In 2011, about 1,500 people received dinner, with about 1,200 of those meals being delivered. Meal delivery requests will be accepted at any time, even Thanksgiving Day.
Mink encouraged anyone who will be alone for the holiday to come and eat at the church.
“We’ll have lunch set up here, too, and they’ll have fellowship, someone to talk to. ... If they want to bring their family and have a nice meal, they can come here, too,” Mink said.
The goal, he said, is not to just to feed the hungry, but also provide companionship and a sense of community.
“We just want people to know that we’re here, and they can get their food and have somebody to talk to,” Mink said.
Meals include turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls and pie. Any leftover food will be donated to the Ark of Mercy Church of God food pantry.
Reservations are not required to eat at the church. To request meal delivery, call 744-5410.