Volunteers will take meals to elderly on Thanksgiving

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks to the generosity of the community, hundreds of bedridden and elderly citizens will again have the chance to enjoy a hot and fresh Thanksgiving meal this year.

Volunteers will come together Thursday at 9 a.m. at the J.O. Smith building at the First United Methodist Church of Bainbridge, where they will assemble more than 300 meals to be delivered to Decatur County citizens that otherwise might not enjoy a Thanksgiving meal that day. It is an annual giving tradition that began more than 20 years ago and will continue again this Thursday.

“We started out with hosting a meal at the church itself,” said Mayo Livingston, who has been involved with the meal ministry since its beginning. “But we quickly realized that there were a lot of people who couldn’t get to the church, whether they were elderly or bedridden or didn’t have any transportation.

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“Once we realized that, we decided it would be easier to just bring the meals straight to them.”

Livingston said about 25 meals were prepared that first year, and that number has blossomed to the more than 300 that will be prepared this Thursday.

“Even though the Methodist church is where the volunteers meet, there are a lot of churches and volunteers that make it a success,” he said.

Joe Livingston, a member of First United Methodist Church and Mayo’s son, said most of the food comes prepared ahead of time from Winn-Dixie. The pumpkin pie and bread is donated by The Pond House.

“We’ve been working with Winn-Dixie since the very beginning,” he said. “They always give us a break on the cost, and they’ve always got the food ready for us when we come to pick it up.”

The meal consists of turkey with gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie and bread. Some volunteers will assemble the meals, while others will deliver them straight to the citizens’ homes.

“We’ve been doing this for a while and we’ve got it working like a machine,” Livingston said. “There will be a little assembly line set up at the church, and every volunteer will know what they need to do. We deliver the meals not only to Bainbridge, but all throughout Decatur County — even Eldorendo, Brinson, Climax and Attapulgus.”

Livingston said many Bainbridge families start out their Thanksgiving each year by donating their time to help make the meal drive a success.

“A lot of people in town will come out and help in the morning, and then go home in the afternoon to enjoy their own Thanksgiving meal with their family,” he said. “It’s always a great showing of volunteers. We’re grateful for the community’s support. It’s definitely something the church looks forward to each year, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone who gets involved.”


Local church also offering meals

The Disciples of Jesus Ministries, located at 1630 Bethel Road in Bainbridge, will have a “Unity in the Community” Thanksgiving feast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. There will be free dinners for the community and activities for children.