300 expected for church dinner

Published 11:53 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Johnnie Brewer, left and Betty Rochester prepare items for Thursday's annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner at Water Avenue Baptist Church. The dinner served 232 last year and this year, Pastor Rod Rochester said, they expect more than 300. -- Rick Couch photo

Every year at Thanksgiving Water Avenue Baptist Church has seen the numbers grow for its free dinner.

This year, Pastor Rod Rochester said, they expect more of the same.

“We had 232 last year and we are expecting about 300 this year,” he said.

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The dinner will take place Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3100 Water Ave. in Selma.

The dinner will include chicken and dressing, string beans, corn, yams, cranberry sauce, rolls, cookies and tea.

Everyone, Rochester said, is welcome.

“We get some people that are too sick to cook a meal and others who are just in need,” he said. “We welcome everyone. We are just happy to be able to do this every year.”

Stewart said as the demand has grown through the years, the volunteer efforts have also expanded.

‘We have a lot of people that have changed their Thanksgiving traditions,” he said. “Some people have family that come into town and they all come up here and help out. You get to meet a lot of new people.”

Aside from helping people in need, Rochester said one of the most satisfying things about the dinner is seeing the children chip in to help.

“They’ll grab a spoon and ask what they can do,” he said. “It really touches you because you know that is something that will stick with them the rest of their lives.”

Preparing food for 300 is no easy task, church member and volunteer Johnnie Brewer said.

“About as soon as we finish this year we’ll be planning for next year,” she said. “It takes a lot of planning, but we are happy to be able to do it.”

The church will have tables set up inside the fellowship hall and additional seating under a tent on the lawn. To volunteer, or for more information, call Brewer at (334) 418-0798.