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This Thanksgiving, 'Come out and eat'
Church welcomes those hungry for food, company
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Forsyth County News

If you're going

What: Community Thanksgiving Dinner

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday

Where: Cumming First United Methodist Church, Family Life Center, 770 Canton Highway

Contact: (770) 887-2900 or

Janet Walden said Cumming First United Methodist Church's Thanksgiving dinner is just as much about feeding the hungry as it is about satisfying those who are "hungry for company."

Walden, lay volunteer service coordinator at the church, said the annual community meal Thursday is a chance for folks to get out, socialize and eat some turkey while they're at it.

Event organizer Lisa Burke said there will even be "socializers" coming around to each table to make sure everybody's taken care of at the event.

"We don't want anybody to have to be alone on Thanksgiving," said Burke, who has volunteered at the dinner since it started eight years ago.

"People that come may have experienced loss, or they may not have the funds this year," Burke said. "We want them to feel at home at our dinner."

Walden said the church served more than 1,000 meals at last year's event. That includes sit-down, take-out and delivered meals.

Dozens of volunteers took to the road with plates of hot turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, making door-to-door deliveries to those on the list.

Walden said many of these deliveries go to "shut-ins," or residents who may not be able to get around well. She said those interested in getting a meal delivered should call the church.

"If we get a million phone calls, we'll make a million turkeys," Walden said. "It's wide open to the community."

Meal time runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, but preparation for the feast begins Wednesday afternoon as volunteers swarm the church kitchen whipping up homemade mashed potatoes and sweet potato casseroles.

The church is accepting canned food donations for the meal, including green beans, whole kernel corn, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Any donations left over will be moved to the church food pantry.

Walden said she encourages those attending the event to bring in canned food for the food pantry, although it's not required.

Any kind of canned food will work, she said, so long as it's a normal-sized can and not expired.

"The 6-pound can of green beans won't work," she said.

As far as the dinner goes, Walden said they've got plenty of food and plenty of volunteers.

"All we need is people to come out and eat," she said.