FAIRMONT — Turkey, mashed potatoes and generosity were on the menu Thursday as two local charities served Thanksgiving dinners.

At the Soup Opera on Quincy Street, members of Agape Life Ministries of Fairmont cooked between five to seven turkeys and other fixings, according to Pastor Regina Riley.

“It’s a lot of food,” she said.

As of 11:30 a.m., Riley said 60 people had showed up for the Thanksgiving meal.

She said there is a definite need for the meals.

“Right now, we’ve had quite a few people here,” she said. “Actually, we had a lot of people here before we started serving. They were waiting when we got here.”

She said 11 youth volunteers aged 11 to 16 years old from the church helped serve meals.

“I think this is a good time for our youth to get involved so they can learn what it means to serve,” she said. “I believe that the greatest way to teach people to be grateful is to serve.”

Riley said the youth volunteered on their own.

One of the youth volunteers, Mahaylah Ramage, 14, said she likes seeing people happy. In addition to getting the plates ready, she helped pass out food to guests.

“Seeing joy in people’s faces makes me happy,” she said.

Her sister, Jazmine Ramage, 11, another youth volunteer, said, “I really like helping people and seeing them smile. It really makes me happy.”

Fellow youth volunteer Zola Bailey, 11, echoed the Ramages’ comments.

“I grew up with food, and seeing people without food and just handing them food, it’s not really a lot, but still, it’s a lot for me because I’ve never done this before,” she said.

She said she liked seeing the guests smile and hopes to continue serving others in the future.

Amanda Drake of Fairmont, who attended the dinner with her son, Nolan, 4, said they come every year. “It was delicious,” she said.

She said her son enjoyed the butter that came with the bread.

Drake liked how the community comes together for the dinner, socializes and has a good time.

Brenda Warren and daughter, Audra, from Mt. Beulah Missionary Baptist Church in Grant Town, were two of the adult volunteers working in the kitchen.

“It’s such a joyous occasion to help people and to serve people because after all I’m a Christian, I’m a servant of the Lord,” she said. “But I love coming out and meeting people and greeting people. It’s hard to describe, seriously, how good it makes you feel.”

They cooked, made dressing and candied yams.

At the Union Mission in Fairmont, cook Todd Hefner said 777 meals went out the door to people in the community, in addition to those who were served at the mission.

“It’s quite a bit,” he said.

Each year, residents call in and order the meals. The meal included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and a roll.

A thousand slices of turkey were served up, he said.

He said there is a lot of work involved, with preparations having started two weeks ago. He said he likes serving people in need.

“It’s just a good thing for the community,” he said. “It just helps people when they can’t afford it.” He said it allows them to have “a good meal on Thanksgiving.”

Another cook, April McCray, said the dinner is a lot of work, but she loves doing it.

One of the people eating at the mission, Hope Shriver, said the dinner was really good.

“I greatly appreciate it,” she said. She said was “blessed to have it.”

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

Recommended for you