Cherryville Community Thanksgiving meal feeds 711
Thanksgiving Community Meal organizer Tammy Campbell (far left) talks with volunteer server, Dr. Jennifer Walls at the 11th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal held last Saturday, Nov. 23. (photos by MEP/The Eagle)
by MICHAEL E. POWELL
The organizers of the 2019 11th Annual Cherryville Community Thanksgiving Meal said they were very pleased with the overall turnout for the feast in spite of the wet and cold weather. They were also happy to be able to feed a large number of people with a hot, nutritious Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey and all the holiday “fixin’s”.
Tammy Campbell, one of the organizers, said, “We had a total of 711 people that received a meal; 159 (fed) at the Legion Building and 552 (meals) sent out. We knew the rain would keep some inside. We are just thankful we had people willing to get out in the rain to deliver those meals for us.”
Campbell, an Assistant Sales Controller for ACTEGA North America in Lincolnton, is no stranger to working out all the kinks, glitches, and what-not when it comes to this annual feast, having done it now for the past 11 years. She has help though, she will quickly tell you, from a whole host of Food Lion staff, a cadre of dedicated volunteers, Boy Scouts, church folks, and people who just want to come by and help out where they’re needed because, well…, it’s the thing to do.
The Cherryville Community Thanksgiving meal was held Saturday, Nov. 23, from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m., at the American Legion Post 100 Building (215 N. Pink St., Cherryville), where it has been held for the past few years, she noted.
This event, said Mrs. Campbell, was sponsored by Cherryville’s Food Lion grocery, who has also sponsored it in the past, donating the food and beverages.
Said Campbell, “The meal lasted while supplies lasted and was on a ‘first come/first served’ basis.”
Other organizers with Campbell were retired Food Lion store manager Max Jonas and Cherryville Area Ministries director Sherry Curry.
Shortly after they opened the doors, Campbell said they had roughly 100 come in to eat in spite of the rain, adding they had sent out as many as 300 plates to shut-ins by then.
Campbell noted the staff of Food Lion comes in and helps out with cooking the meal and with serving it as well. Those on the serving line, she noted, were switched out about every hour so everyone could get a blessing by serving, and could also take time out to sit down and eat a meal themselves with friends and co-workers.
“In addition to our Boy Scout volunteers,” said Campbell, “we have some Girl Scout troop members and many volunteers from our area churches.”
Campbell said many times folks will come to the Community Meal in order to have someone to eat with or just to fellowship with others during the holiday season.
“Like Meals-On-Wheels, we make sure everybody who is shut in gets a hot meal; them and their caregivers,” said Campbell, who added, “This whole thing is about family and spending time with who you care about. This meal is always open to everyone.”
Max Jonas, who has also been involved with the Community Thanksgiving Meal for 11 years, said it is a way for him and his family to give back.
Jonas retired from being the Cherryville Food Lion store manager a few years ago but still maintains his friendships and contacts with current store manager Tammy Evans and Karen Newton, also a manager of one of the departments inside the grocery.
Said Jonas, “We are grateful to Food Lion, which is our corporate sponsor for the meal, and the Cherryville store for donating all the food. It’s really a community thing; the meal. We’ve had so much help this time out it has been a breeze!”
Evans, the manager of the Cherryville Food Lion, said this was her first-ever Cherryville Thanksgiving Meal, serving and helping where she was needed.
“I have to say, I’m totally amazed with the outreach to the community here in Cherryville that I have seen just since I’ve been here,” she said. “I am also amazed at how the Cherryville community comes together to take care of each other.”
Cherryville’s Troop 323, sponsored by the Cherryville Rotary Club, and their Scoutmaster Ed Feemster were on hand, helping out, in spite of some of the Scouts also doing their food drive at Food Lion that same day.
Scoutmaster Feemster noted he brought over seven Scouts to help out.
“I think it’s wonderful the people of Cherryville and the surrounding area feel led to give back out of the abundance of their hearts, and the blessings they have received from God,” he said.