Holiday meals served to many

November 25, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN - Even with 14 turkeys, 50 pounds of potatoes, 40 pounds of stuffing and 12 gallons of sweet potatoes, corn and green beans, there was still room for dessert at Grace United Methodist Church.

The church hosted its sixth annual Thanksgiving dinner, serving more than 260 meals Thursday, organizer Tracy Clipp said.

The church was among several organizations serving meals throughout Washington County. The Hagerstown Salvation Army and the Rescue Missions of Frederick, Md., Martinsburg, W.Va., and Hagerstown were a few organizations hosting free dinners.

While most families spent the day in private with friends and loved ones, many others spent Thanksgiving with the public.

"It's not just for the homeless and old people," Clipp said. "It's about a community Thanksgiving."

The Yost family attended the public Thanksgiving dinner at Grace United Methodist Church.

"It's not just about your family, it's a lot more than that," said Regina Yost. "That's pretty much the way I was raised. Extended family and friends, this and that, actually makes for an extremely good day because you can really count your blessings.


Regina Yost and her husband, Lauren Yost, said they brought their sons to Grace United Methodist in order to show them the importance of community. The family still had its own private dinner at their Williamsport home, Regina Yost said.

Darrell Huffman spent the entire day washing dishes in the kitchen. Huffman said he has volunteered for the event since it started six years ago.

"We all get gifts, help and strength from friends, so I know at my age with the way things are now that things are getting harder for senior citizens," said Huffman, 88, of Halfway.

Huffman said he was going to eat Thanksgiving dinner with family.

The Hagerstown Rescue Mission served about 225 people Thursday, said event organizer Bruce "Sonny" Shank.

"We had several people who were neither homeless or old," said Becky Shank, an organizer and volunteer, referring to a group of Hagerstown residents who came to the dinner because they didn't have any family nearby.

"That's what we wanted to convey to the community," Becky Shank said. "This is not just for poor, needy people."

The Rescue Mission, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, had two activity rooms for teens and children. It was the first time the organization had activities specifically for youth, Becky Shank said.

Bruce Shank said there were so many people at the Rescue Mission's dinner that they had to set up more chairs.

"I'm just thankful to God for what he's done for me," Bruce said. "This is my way of giving something back."

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