Giving Back

Hundreds enjoy free holiday meal

The Inter-Mountain photos by Tim MacVean Volunteers plate food during a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday at the IOOF Lodge in Elkins. The meal was offered to the public by the Randolph County Ministerial Association.

ELKINS — Dozens of individuals volunteered their time Thursday morning to assist in preparing and serving hundreds of Thanksgiving meals.

The Randolph County Ministerial Association hosted its annual Thanksgiving lunch that was free to anyone who needed or wanted a hot meal.

“The turnout has been fantastic, so far. A very good turnout,” said Jason Brandon, preaching minister at First Church of Christ in Elkins. “I think that Thanksgiving is very American. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — Lincoln put it as a permanent holiday.

“It’s just part of our American roots and, as far as the local churches pitching in, it’s a chance to thank God. That doesn’t mean you have to be Christian to come to this, but as Christians we are thankful so all the churches and all the ministers get together on this and we feel that this is a good way to give back to our community.”

Only midway through the meal, which ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the IOOF Lodge on the Beverly Five-lane, 550 rolls, which were served one per person, had been served.

Members of the Elkins IOOF Lodge in Elkins enjoy the free Thanksgiving meal Thursday. From left are Bob Hornbeck, Russell Swecker and his wife Wanda Swecker.

Brandon added he believes this event is a good way to give back to the community.

“So many in our community give back to the churches and support our churches so it is a great way to give back,” he continued. “It’s a great way to show the community we are working together. We are not competing against each other. It’s a good community event.”

Brandon said a lot of people live alone, which can make the holiday season difficult.

“For a lot of people Thanksgiving is a hassle, especially if it’s just one or two people living alone. It’s not worth the effort to make a Thanksgiving dinner and can be a lonely day for some people so it’s a good opportunity for people to get together and enjoy fellowship here,” he said.

Davis Medical Center Chaplain Rev. Dina Andrews, who assisted with the meal for the first time this year, said she was excited to see the fellowship between those in attendance.

“This is my first year being here so it’s been really exciting seeing how many volunteers come out to help with these meals and just hearing the camaraderie and everything about how they are enjoying serving others,” she said. “Then seeing all the people from the community come in and eat here and seeing the fellowship is nice. You can obviously tell that some of the people haven’t seen each other in a while and it’s their reunion of sorts.”

Davis Medical Center has been provide a large portion of the food for this event for more than 30 years.

“We are part of the community and we are here to serve the community in many different ways,” Andrews said.

Brandon added that without the help of the Odd Fellows Home, Davis Medical Center, the 1863 Grill, the Steer Steakhouse, as well as local churches and volunteers, the event would not be possible.

“We are so very grateful because we wouldn’t be able to put this on without all the volunteers and businesses,” he said. “We couldn’t do this without the help of so many people in the community who have been so very generous. We’ve even got people that don’t go to church that come volunteer their time. It’s a wonderful event that brings us all together. It’s fun to serve people and it’s fun to give.”

“We are thankful to the community and God,” added Doug Lewis, vice president of the Randolph County Ministerial Association.