By Jody Stewart
Thanksgiving is a holiday when friends and family come together to enjoy what is probably the largest meal prepared each year in American homes, but for some finding a meal on the holiday can be challenging. Some people find themselves unable to prepare a Thanksgiving meal due to their health, financial reasons or maybe they are just alone. Two local organizations have the true spirit of the holiday and have stepped up to feed those in need.
Thirty-six years ago Harvest Evangelism had a thought to deliver Thanksgiving meals to their neighbors. The gentlemen at His Place cooked and prepared 30-boxed meals. Pastor Rick Hagans said, “We prayed for God to help us find that right house.”
Hagans said, “We were down to our last box when I saw a small mill house with smoke coming out of the chimney. It was a cold day. We knocked on the door and we heard a voice say, Come In. When we entered the home it was small, humble and smoky from the fire in the fireplace. There was an older gentleman sitting next to the fireplace in a wheel chair.”
Hagans said, “ I noticed he had no legs and was reading his bible. We told him we were there to share a meal with him.” Pastor Hagen said the man started clapping his hands and stated, “I knew God would provide.”
Since that day the Thanksgiving meal project has grown. Last year Harvest Evangelism, along with His Place and Hosanna Home and countless volunteers shared over 2000 meals with people in both Lee and Chambers counties.
Rick Hagan says, “We are not giving people a meal. We are sharing a meal with them and having fellowship.”
With Sheriff Sid Lockhart’s blessing the group delivers meals to all of the inmates at the Chambers County Jail. The group goes to EAMC to waiting rooms and looks for families who are sitting with loved ones in the hospital. The group even visits laundrymats to visit with people who are by themselves.
Hagans says, “We still pray to find that right house to visit and God keeps leading us.”
Harvest Evangelism will be set up in a red and white tent behind the Harvest Thrift Super Center in Opelika on Thanksgiving morning. If you are in need you can pick up a meal there. Or if you cannot drive Harvest Evangelism will bring a meal to you.
Please call 334-742-0777 or 334-864-0890 to help prepare meals or donate or if you or you know someone who needs a meal delivered.
Over in WestPoint, Mayor Steve Tramell and some downtown restaurants have stepped up again this year to provide Thanksgiving meals for those in need. Last year the group prepared 500 Thanksgiving lunches.
On Thanksgiving Day around 10am EST Mayor Tramell and volunteers from the Refuge Point Church will hand out meals to anyone who wants one. The pick up point will be at the corner of Martin Luther Drive and 10th Ave. in West Point.
The group hopes to hand out all of its plates this year, but Tramell said, ”We will do this even if just ten plates are picked up.”
They will be set up under a large tent until all of the food is gone or until 12:30 pm EST. Tramell said the food is not just for citizens of West Point but for all of the Greater Valley Area. “It is for anybody who needs a meal,” said Tramell.
Both groups encourage everyone to volunteer this holiday in some shape or form. “The simplest baked pie means the world to a needy family,” Pastor Rick Hagans noted.