The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 23, 2012

A day for giving thanks

Lewis Community Center feeds 1,500 while McBee's opens doors to public

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— Volunteers at the Lewis Community Center in Oak Hill served turkey and all the fixin’s to more than 1,500 people on Thanksgiving Day.

Father Roy Crist, with New River Episcopal Ministries, said the event started about 12 years ago at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, but it soon outgrew the facility.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” Crist said. “Last year we served around 1,400.”

Dinner was provided for any and all who wanted a meal. If they were unable to come to the Community Center, a meal was delivered to them.

“Probably 1,200 were delivered. We had drivers going all around to five different counties.”

Many donations and church contributions helped make this Thanksgiving possible, providing turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and plenty of desserts to the community.

Crist has been helping out with Thanksgiving dinner for the past 10 years. This year, he said nearly 300 volunteers were involved, helping to prepare, cook, serve and deliver the Thanksgiving meals.

“We have volunteers from the high school, local businesses, and other community organizations. People just hear about us and want to come in and help.”

 

McBee’s also opened its doors Thanksgiving Day to provide dinner to anyone in want or need of a hot meal.

Owner Dan Bickey said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Freddie’s Restaurant, which always provided free Thanksgiving Day dinner.

He said he called the Salvation Army and sent out 300 invitations, but decided to open the dinner to everyone.

More than 170 people came to feast in the banquet hall, and Bickey said he hopes to carry on the tradition each year.

“It’s a way to give back to the community.”

He said the leftovers were being sent to Pine Haven Center, a homeless shelter in Beckley.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com