Hines Memorial CME Church Missionary Society President Marye Wright, uncovers a pan of rice that was served as part of the church’s Caring and Sharing Thanksgiving meal Monday afternoon. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — For many Albanians in need, the holidays started early this year as Hines Memorial CME Church fed more than 250 at its annual Caring and Sharing Thanksgiving meal Monday afternoon.
The church began the Caring and Sharing initiative more than 25 years ago as a way of helping Albany’s less fortunate during the holiday season.
“This is something we wanted to start after we saw a need years ago,” said Wright. “God loves everybody and we treat them that way. We try to stress our love for them and our caring of them.”
Wright continued by saying that the church chose to host its annual supper the Monday before Thanksgiving because so many other organizations offered a meal the day of Thanksgiving and church officials didn’t want anyone to miss out.
“A lot of people do things at Thanksgiving,” Wright said. “Hopefully this will help those who might not get a Thanksgiving dinner.”
The holiday meal consisted of roasted turkey, herb bread dressing, giblet gravy, southern green beans, seasoned rice, sweet potato souffle, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls.
Church members donated all of the food and volunteers began prepping for the meal Sunday afternoon. The main dish, turkey, was cooked by church volunteer Billy Lemon, who began cooking at midnight Sunday and cooked 18 birds.
“We cook everything ourselves with love,” said Wright. “It truly is a home-cooked meal.”
Wright said that despite the cold, people began lining up in front of the church’s fellowship hall as early as 7 a.m. to ensure they got something to eat.
In addition to the holiday meal the church also distributed clothing to those in need that was donated by church members throughout the year. Items distributed included clothes for men, women and children.
“We have things for all ages,” said Ann Adams, Hines Memorial’s director of Christian education. “Everything was donated by members of Hines.”
Adams estimated that between the Thanksgiving dinner and the clothing distribution, the church was able to help close to 300 people this year.