RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — The American author and journalist E.P. Powell said, “Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”
No worries here. Midlands citizens are exhibiting lots of concern and gratitude as they prepare Thanksgiving celebrations, not only for their own families, but for the less fortunate. Congregations, school and university groups, civic organizations and ordinary people are cooking meals, collecting canned goods and donating time and money to ensure that everyone enjoys a festive Thanksgiving meal and gathering.
Here’s a sample of what some organizations are doing — and the donations they still require — to make this Thanksgiving Day a memorable one:
Stedfast Christian Center is hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner today at the church, 5200 Fairfield Road. The congregation, led by the Rev. Sam Goodwin, invites anyone who desires a free hot meal to come and enjoy food and fellowship at the church. Details: (803) 786-9129
Greater St. Luke Baptist Church is holding a free Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and others in need on Tuesday. The congregation, led by the Rev. Michael Baker, will pick up people from Transitions and the Salvation Army and open the doors of the church’s M.L. Smith Community Development Center, 5213 Farrow Road, at noon. Details: (803) 754-6000
The 22nd annual Thanksgiving Day dinner hosted by St. Peter’s Catholic Church and First Baptist Church of Columbia will be held Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Carolina Coliseum. This community dinner draws the largest crowd of any Thanksgiving day gathering in the Midlands — more than 1,200 attended last year. Another 800 meals are delivered by volunteers to area retirement and nursing homes. People may “adopt” a turkey for $10 to donate to the organization to help fund the proceedings. Checks should be made out to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 1529 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29201. Details: Robert Keeder, (803) 796-9802.
Area congregations are assisting in the 2nd Annual Interfaith Turkey/Holiday Meal Fundraiser for Harvest Hope Food Bank. Harvest Hope is trying to raise $100,000 to cover the cost of food, including a truckload of turkeys, that has been ordered and to assist with transportation costs for donated food. Details, or to donate: Harvest Hope, 2220 Shop Road Columbia, SC 29201; (803) 254-4432.
Sistercare is in need of Thanksgiving baskets for women and children they serve. Requested items include gift cards to Walmart or area grocery stores, nonperishable food (canned goods, rice, stuffing, soda, etc.) and paper products including napkins, plates, plastic silverware, and paper towels. Donations may be mailed to Sistercare Inc., P.O. Box 1029, Columbia, SC 29202. Details: (803) 926-0505.
Operation Turkey, an outreach ministry of Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington, will provide Thanksgiving meals to 2,500 individuals and families in the Midlands. More than 400 church volunteers, aided by community and business donations, will prepare the meals that will be delivered to the needy in homes, retirement communities, children’s homes and mental health centers. The church coordinates with area social service agencies and nonprofits to distribute the meals. Details, or to donate: (803) 359-7770.
USC’s Interfaith Community Service and Dialogue