Community effort: Good Hope enjoys annual Thanksgiving meal

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A volunteer hand-delivers meals in Boy Scout Troop 241's drive-through line at the City of Good Hope's ninth annual community Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. / W.C. Mann

GOOD HOPE – On Wednesday, the leaders of the city of Good Hope, along with local Boy Scouts and volunteers from Good Hope High School and the community, put on the city’s ninth annual community Thanksgiving meal.  Students gained community service hours working in the kitchen and serving lines, while city employees helped pass out meals.  Local church volunteers and even city council members delivered meals to area homebound residents.  In what has become a habit at the event, the 11 a.m. official starting time proved to be more of a suggestion than a rule; by 10:30, folks were already dining inside, while others were picking up meals in Boy Scout Troop 241’s drive-through line outside.

Around noon, Good Hope Mayor Jerry Bartlett said, “We’ve got about 1,200 plates here, and we’ve been serving since about 10:25.  It doesn’t look like we’re going to have much left over, which is what we like.  It’s been a very good turnout today, and we’re just pleased.  We really like putting this on.” 

Bartlett shared a little about the annual meal’s history.

“Paul Schwaiger came up with this nine years ago, and he just said we needed to have something for the community, for those people who needed some food during the holidays,” he said. “So I got with Cullman County Schools–I was working with them–I got with Child Nutrition, and they said, ‘We’ll order it for you through the school, and you can use the lunchroom down at Good Hope.’

“We started off with about 250 plates, and we’ve doubled, and doubled, and kept on.  We’ve went as high as 1,500, but it was a little much, so we’ve kind of found 1,200 to be just about the right number, and that’s what we’ve been doing the last few years.”

Bartlett was especially complimentary of the event sponsors, including Good Hope Contracting, Good Hope Pharmacy, James R. Smith and James A. Smith Trucking, Pepsi, Premier Bank, Scott’s Excavation and Hauling, AEE Truck and Trailer Repair, Grandma’s Car Wash, Jack’s Western Wear, Kids’ Turf Childcare, L&J Homebuilders and McGriff Industries.

“We feed the community different times throughout the year,” said Bartlett, “and it never costs anybody anything because of these sponsors.  So it’s been just a great thing for them and us.”

The mayor saved his closing words for the army of volunteers who turned out to put on the event.

“When you (don’t) even have to go out and beg people to come–these people just show up.  These people come, and you see the same faces every year.  You see kids, you see churches, you see families within the community and they’ll call, ‘Can I help?’  And I just tell them, ‘Show up,’ and we never, ever (do) not have enough people.  We always have plenty.  It’s a good community, and we just love putting it on.”

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