Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 13, 2012

Community meal set for 9th Thanksgiving

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Feeding the multitudes is a ministry mission many churches spend an entire year attempting to fulfill, although the most cherished feedings fall around a very popular family chow day.

One such tradition guaranteed to attract an impressive crowd once again is Cornerstone Community Church’s community Thanksgiving dinner set for the big day itself — Thursday, Nov. 22.

For Pastor Brian Black, it’s a welcomed marathon of food and fellowship that invites anyone seeking a bite to eat, whether they are in need of a meal, don’t feel like cooking or even something different for travelers along Interstate 35.

“It’s just our way of giving thanks by giving back to the community,” said Black, who has been asked quite a bit already if it was still going on.

“We just provide it to whoever needs it. It’s pretty much after nine years a tradition.”

Because the number of hungry visitors increases from year to year with around 625 served last year, the church is preparing at least for 650 if not 700, said Black.

One thing he wants to make sure people know is the location will still be the same at 1911 West Grant, even though it has changed from what used to be Little Ben’s Pizza to Punkin’s Bar-B-Que.

“There’s not a lot of kitchen’s big enough to do that,” said Black, who said they have bought 20 turkeys and 20 hams when it comes to the meat to be served and added how he also expects more people due to developments like the recent turnaround at the Wynnewood Refinery.

“We anticipate a lot more this year.”

The doors open up at 11 a.m., going until 2 p.m., and the free meal will once again feature other eats like green beans, corn and pies for dessert, said Black. The best part for many is that it is free and they aren’t asking for anything other than showing up.

“If people don’t want to fight the crowd, we suggest waiting until around 12:30 p.m.,” said Black, noting how it can help them with the rush. “It’s pretty busy at 11 o’clock and stays busy for an hour.”

In the end, Black said they would not be able to offer the meal without a lot of contributions from organizations and businesses that help out behind the scenes. He realizes there is a need for food in times like this and it can also be seen through their weekly meal where they believe they will have served about 18,000 before the year is over.

“There are a lot of people who provide support behind the scenes,” said Black. “I would say the need is there.”

Another Thanksgiving meal planned is one at Grace Baptist Church on Monday, Nov. 19 along state Highway 19 at the east edge of town. Everyone is also invited to attend where they are preparing for 300 themselves and the doors are open from 4 to 7 p.m.

Elmore City’s community meal will be on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center, one block west of the 4-way stop in Elmore.