Give thanks!


Guests are welcomed to the inaugural Frances and Doug Reese Memorial Community Thanksgiving Meal Wednesday evening at Hopewell Baptist Church in Hanceville. / Nick Griffin

HANCEVILLE – Hopewell Baptist Church opened its doors wide Wednesday evening, hosting the inaugural Frances and Doug Reese Memorial Community Thanksgiving Meal. The meal, part of Hopewell’s 175th anniversary celebration, was free and open to the whole community, a way to honor the Reeses.

One the meal’s organizers, Kathy Howard, is new to the church, but said she loved the idea of a community meal and was excited to get involved.

“I am the wife of the interim pastor, Lane Howard, and we’ve been here for about four months,” said Howard. “They’re celebrating their 175th anniversary and before we got here they had already talked about doing a community-wide meal for Thanksgiving. I thought that was right up my alley because I love doing that kind of stuff. We actually started one at another church we were at and they already had the wheels rolling here and they asked if I’d like to help coordinate it and I was all in.”

Howard felt good about the preparation for the meal and said the church was prepared to serve hundreds.

“We’ve talked about it and we are hoping for this first time to have about 300 people. We’ve had lots of advertisement so I’m hoping for 500 but we’ll see. We have enough food that we can feed probably over 400 people. Maybe we’ll run out. Our goal is just to let people know that we are here; we want to be the hands and feet of God, and hopefully we can let our community know that we’re here for them.”

Making the meal completely free for all participants was very important to Hopewell and was a big part of its effort to serve the community.

“We’ve been told that Hanceville is one of the poorest towns in the county. I believe their school has more free and reduced lunches than anybody else. Hopefully this can help out some people in this community that may need it,” Howard said as the meal was getting underway. “We want everybody to come out, we don’t care if you have money or not we just want you to come and let us see you. There’s no strings attached, if you want to come to church we would love to have you, but this is a no strings attached meal, so we just want you to come out and have a good time with us and hopefully some good food.”

People were coming in to eat before the doors officially opened at 4:30 and there was a steady stream of hungry participants for most of the night. It was a great chance for Hopewell Baptist to celebrate its 175th anniversary while also serving the community during the holiday season.

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