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First Baptist Feast of Sharing will be different this year

By ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
First Baptist Church, Elizabethton, will once again host its annual Feast of Sharing on Thanksgiving Day…but, this year it will be a little different due to COVID-19 challenges.
“Like everything else, we are having to change the way we do the dinner. This year we are unable to serve a meal in the fellowship hall. Instead, we are doing a box meal, which will be freshly prepared. The meals will be delivered to several distribution points in the community by our deacons for pick-up,” explained Lisa Bunn, coordinator for the Feast of Sharing.
Additionally this year, bags of non-perishable food items will also be distributed, one bag per family as long as supplies last.
Distribution points for the Thanksgiving Day meal include: First Baptist Church, 212 E. F St.; Hunter Elementary School, 145 Hope St.; Valley Forge Elementary, 1485 Riverview Drive; and Happy Valley Elementary, 1840 Milligan Highway.
The church will also deliver meals to the fire department, the jail, to first responders, and to Courtyard Apts. and Village East Apts. “We just ask that they call and give us the number they need,” Bunn said.
Distribution will take place Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The dinner consists of turkey and all the trimmings and the box lunch will be given free to anyone in the community who has a need, Bunn shared.
“We are anticipating around 1,400 people this year. The need is very great, and we especially want to reach out to shut-ins, the elderly, those who live alone, and families with children. We spent Wednesday of this week placing signs at the distribution centers to make people aware of what we are doing, and they are welcome to participate,” said Bunn.
The menu is a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, and homemade dessert.
This year, the dinner will require 70 turkeys, which are prepared by Food City of Elizabethton. The rest of the meal is prepared and assembled at the church. The desserts are made by ladies of the church.
The rolls, green beans, and sweet potatoes for the dinner are ordered by the Captain’s Table at Lakeshore, but are prepared at the church.
“It takes a massive amount of work, organization, and people to pull a meal of this size off, and gratefully, we have a large number of people who turn out to help us. They get excited about it as time grows close. This year we will be spread out and do a lot of our food preparation in the dining room. Our people will work in shifts, and will begin around noon Wednesday pulling the meat off the bones and making dressing. They will clean up for the night and return around 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and will stay until the last meal is delivered, and the kitchen and dining room are clean,” Bunn said.
“The Thanksgiving meal is a church-wide ministry and takes a lot of work, but, in return, we are blessed tremendously.
“COVID-19 has affected every part of our life and community. It has changed the way we do things. Everything has changed, but the needs. They are still there, and it is our time to serve and minister to those in need,” said Bunn.
Families in need of a meal are asked to call the church office at 543-1931.