By Sharon Mager
COLUMBIA, Md.— Throughout Maryland and Delaware, BCM/D churches are preparing and serving dinners and making food baskets for shut-ins, the needy, and the lonely. This is just a sample of what a few churches and organizations are doing this year to love their neighbors.
Ocean City Baptist Church (OCBC) will serve turkey, dressing and all the classic fixings to their community on Thanksgiving Day. OCBC Pastor Sean Davis said church members feed over 500 people each year. Some folks eat in the church fellowship hall. Members also take food to shut-ins, employees of local businesses open on the holiday and to first responders.
The whole church helps, buying food, preparing it, serving, and cleaning up. Locals also enjoy lending a hand. Seventy-five community volunteers help the church each year with the big dinner.
“Everyone wants to come and be a part of it.” Davis said. “Some people volunteer because they don’t have anywhere else to go. They become part of our family for the day. We do this so no one has to be alone for the holiday,” Davis said.
One high school group shows up each year. Davis said the students enjoy sitting and chatting with guests and they’re all well received. “People love to talk to the students. They’re young, and have a lot of energy.”
Davis said representatives from Gideons International usually show up and hand out Bibles.
The church also has tables with Bible tracts and members on hand to offer prayer, but Davis stresses that the church’s primary outreach strategy is relational.
Just west of Ocean City, Berlin First Baptist Church also serves free dinners, averaging 450 meals served or delivered each year.
“Most of the church rallies around it,” said Deacon David Schafer. Some people prepare food at home and bring it to the church, others cook onsite. Schafer said the church members enjoy making the fellowship hall homey, decorating it for the holiday with tables covered and topped with Thanksgiving centerpieces.
They serve folks that come to the church for dinner and fellowship, and they deliver to shut-ins and first responders.
Schafer said their primary focus is to get to know their neighbors and showing love to people.
Inner Harbor Ministry, supported by multiple BCM/D churches, families and individuals, will serve turkey, dressing and all the fixings to over 150 people on Thanksgiving Day. Many are homeless or very poor. The dinner begins at noon at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Pennington Avenue, Curtis Bay.
In addition to the meal, volunteers give away non-perishables, as well as hygiene kits, and cold weather clothing such as hats, gloves, coats and blankets. They welcome donations and volunteers at the Thanksgiving dinner and on Thursday evenings each week. For more information contact Chris Gudmundsson.