A community to be thankful forLocals take part in annual Mt. Pleasant Community Thanksgiving
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
The sound of footsteps echoed down the stairwell and into the fellowship hall at First United Methodist Church as the aroma of turkey and all the trimmings filled the room and volunteers hurried to put the finishing touches on its annual Mt. Pleasant Community Thanksgiving.
As the clock struck 11 a.m., a line of glove-clad volunteers greeted guests with warm smiles and a hot plate of food.
“I come because of the food, fun and fellowship,” said Ed Donald. Donald has been a member of the First United Methodist Church for more than 30 years. “This is an outreach for the whole community, it brings people together,” he said of the event.
At the dessert table, Trisha Shepherd exclaimed, “There’s too many pies.”
She and Donna Wise have been at the church since 8 a.m. “We start getting the pies and plates open, cut and ready to go,” she said.
Wise has been spending her Thanksgiving mornings preparing for the community Thanksgiving since 2005. “This helps the community and I’d do anything to help the community,” she said.
Her counterpart, Shepherd, said volunteering not only makes those she’s serving happy, but it also makes her happy. “It’s nice to give back to the community,” she said.
For Kay Denning, the Community Thanksgiving has become part of her family’s holiday tradition.
“It all started three or four years ago,” she said. “My family was planning to celebrate Thanksgiving on an off day, this was something we could do together on Thanksgiving.”
Denning was busy brewing coffee as her daughter, Brianne Clark, flitted around the dozen tables, taking drink orders. Denning’s nine-year-old granddaughter, Addison, filled the orders.
“This is also a good teaching moment for her,” Denning said as she nodded toward her granddaughter.
“I like to help people,” Addison said. “It makes me feel good.”
The “good feelings” were almost palpable Thursday as music, laughter and conversation filled the room.
Before the turkey was dished out and stomachs were filled, Lisa Oetken introduced her brother-in-law, Oscar Dupuy, who said the blessing. As he thanked God for the bounty of food and friends, a woman translated the prayer into Spanish.
“This is a great way for us to give back,” said Oetken, who said the community dinner usually serves between 200-300 people.
The Mt. Pleasant Community Thanksgiving has been going on for as long as Oetken could remember. “This year and last year, my sister, Tina Hill, and I have taken it over,” she said of making sure the tradition continues.
Lines for the meal began forming around 10:45 a.m. But it wasn’t just those present who received a hot meal and a warm smile. Meals were delivered to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Pleasant Police Department and to shut-ins within the community.
“No one should be alone on Thanksgiving,” she said.
With that, Oetken gave thanks for a community that comes together and cares for one another.