Food for a multitude

November 24, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, PA. - When Christy Vannoy was a kid, she'd often make dinner for her parents and two siblings."It would be on the table when her family came home at night," said her husband, Dan Vannoy.

Cooking for a family of five when she was 11 years old was one thing. Wednesday afternoon, Christy Vannoy had about a dozen large electric roasting ovens lined up on the counter in the fellowship hall of the Assembly of God Church on Bemisderfer Road.

Keeping warm in the vessels were nine cut-up turkeys and three hams, pounds of mashed and sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pork and sauerkraut, corn and bread stuffing, beans, corn and two pots filled with gravy. She did most of the cooking over the last few days.


Side tables held Vannoy's homemade cranberry salad, pickles and fruit salad. Tables in the rear of the fellowship hall were filled with the 10 pies and three cakes she baked.

Between what she and other church members were cooking and baking, it looked like there was enough food to feed a couple of football teams of teenage boys.

Dinner was served Wednesday for anyone who walked in the door from 4 to 7 p.m. It will be served again today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"This is the first time I cooked this much," Vannoy said.

"We're getting a lot of calls. We're hoping for a crowd," she said. "Some people asked if they needed reservations."

This is the first time the church is offering free Thanksgiving dinners, Vannoy said. The idea came to her a few weeks ago when she began thinking of ways to help people on the holiday.

"Dan suggested I do a dinner at the church," she said.

Vannoy said she's trying to reach out to the community, but has no idea how many people will show up. The dinners were promoted in local radio and newspaper announcements, her husband said.

She approached church members with her idea and they embraced it. She recruited volunteers to help with the cooking and serving and rounded up donations of food. The Vannoys also bought some of the food themselves.

"People we don't even know are offering to help," she said. One woman brought in a turkey for Christy Vannoy to cook.

"My mother has two backup turkeys ready to plop into her oven if we need them," she said. "It's better to have too much food than not enough. We can always freeze it or give it away."

The fellowship hall has a capacity for 100 diners. Provisions also are being made to provide dinners for shut-ins who can't get to the church, Dan Vannoy said.

Steve McCleary, one of Christy's volunteers, arrived at the church at 9 a.m. Wednesday to help. He set up tables, washed dishes, made coffee and helped in the food preparation.

"We'll see how this goes first," Christy said when asked if she will serve dinners at Christmas.

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