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Church offers food, clothing on Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

WILLIAMSPORT -- At one local church's Thanksgiving dinner event, guests helped themselves not only to turkey, ham, stuffing and green beans, but to a buffet of donated coats, sweaters, pants and shoes.

"We figured if you're hungry and you're homeless, you probably need clothing as well, so let's just meet the need entirely," said evangelist Desiree Prather, who helped coordinate the event at Word of Life Outreach Ministries on Falling Waters Road in Williamsport.

This was the first year that Word of Life has hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, but the church provides free food and clothing to people in need year-round, Prather said.

To help people get to the event, the church sent buses to area shelters and sent vans to pick up anyone who requested a ride. The dining area quickly was filled, Prather said.

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Some of the guests were homeless, while others could not afford to cook a big meal or simply lacked anyone to share the holiday with.

"We're between homes," said George Cann, 46, whose family has been staying in a motel in Sandy Hook. "We don't have a kitchen, so we figured we'd come out here and enjoy some good home cooking."

Cann's daughter, Danielle, 5, said her favorite part of the meal was the rolls, but she had plenty of room for turkey.

"It's beautiful," George Cann said. "They did a wonderful job."

Chad Hook, 32, of Hagerstown, said he liked how family-oriented the dinner was.

"I don't know nobody, but the all treated me like family," he said.

Chad and his wife, Nancy, said they didn't have family to visit for the holiday, so they preferred to go out rather than cook for two. Nancy picked up a sweater, jeans and a pair of shoes while she was there.

The two said they were grateful for the meal and the clothes.

"It's not often when you see someone give up their holiday and with an open heart want to love on someone they don't know," Chad Hook said. "There was a lot of love here."

Volunteer Darrell Robertson, 44, of Hagerstown, said working at the event didn't feel like he was giving up anything at all. Several of his family members volunteer at the church, too, and everyone in attendance is treated like a friend, Robertson said.

"It's all friends and family," he said.

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