Once again, the First United Methodist Church in Bellefontaine is putting together its annual Thanksgiving Love Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 23, from 12 to 3 p.m. The church, at 201 N. Main Street, is ready to serve a full, traditional Thanksgiving meal to anyone who wants to join them. And it’s free, though donations are welcome.
This is Sharon Walden’s 11th year coordinating the event, and she’s been busy. She spent Tuesday filling up her car one last time with a shopping trip to Columbus. After unloading back at the church, she checked the turkeys, then started on the gravy. She anticipates they will feed around 700 people on Thursday.
“I don’t want anyone eating alone,” Walden said. “There’s no reason anyone should not have a nice Thanksgiving meal.”
Of course, this is a church-wide effort. Something Walden couldn’t do without the 100 to 150 volunteers who have signed up to help with everything from making pies to buttering turkeys to delivering meals all over Logan County on Thursday. Anyone can help. Even her 4-year-old grandson will join the serving line.
The church has enough oven space to cook 12 turkeys; the rest will go in dozens of electric roasting pans set up around the kitchen and dining area. It’s truly a labor of love. And, in her 11 years coordinating, Walden only ran out turkeys once. But, she clarified, “the only ones who didn’t get any was me, my family and a friend. So we went to Bob Evans.”
The church also offers a delivery option for those who can’t make it there. Though the deadline to sign up for that was yesterday, Tuesday, at 2 p.m., Walden admits they won’t turn anyone down. She just asks people to contact them at 937-592-9651 as soon as possible. They have to map out routes for their delivery drivers. By Tuesday, they already had 350 meals scheduled for delivery. That’s a lot of mapping.
And while they have all those volunteers, there’s always room for more! If you want to help serve the meal, they still need help from 1 to 2 p.m. Just call the church at 937-592-9651 today to sign up. And if you’re interested in helping deliver meals, please show up at the First United Methodist on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
“This is our church’s mission,” Walden concluded. “It’s one of the ways we give back to the community.”