Gadsden church delivers taste of home to area on Thanksgivingcomment (0)
December 11, 2003
By Scott Bush
Thanksgiving is a time for family and nowhere moreso than in one Gadsden community. Members of Goodyear Heights Baptist Church spent the entire month of November gearing up to deliver hundreds of Thanksgiving dinners to hospital patients, public servants and anyone else who needede a touch of “family” for the holiday.
The dinners for Thanksgiving Day outreach began three years ago under the leadership of Larry Peppers.
“We delivered more than 100 plates the first year,” recalled Peppers. “This year we sent out 523.”
Peppers coordinated the month-long effort this year that involved dozens of volunteers from the church.
“We collected donations from Food World, Johnson’s Food Giant and Woods Brothers Grocery as well as from individuals who dropped things off at the church and at Moultrie Toyota,” Peppers said.
“Moultrie added a donation, Mack’s Packing gave us spoons and forks, and we even had a local restaurant owner from our church who supervised some of the preparations,” said Peppers.
Goodyear Heights Pastor Tommy Ferguson said, “This ministry involves people of all ages and they have fun with it all month.”
The cooking actually began in earnest early on Thanksgiving Day.
Volunteers then went out into the community to deliver plates to area shut-ins, businesses that were open, police stations and fire halls.
Scores of meals went out to Gadsden’s two hospitals — Riverview and Gadsden Regional Medical Center.
“We started in the E.R. waiting rooms and then fanned out to other parts of the hospital,” Peppers explained.
“People were amazed when we approached them,” he added. “Some offered to pay for the plates. They could hardly believe that people will get out on Thanksgiving to bring them a free meal.”
Peppers described the ministry as a tangible testimony of God’s grace. “We just tell folks how God has blessed us and that we want to be a blessing to them,” he said. “It makes a real impression.”
Joe Morgan, a volunteer who delivered 60 meals to Riverview Hospital, recalled one encounter in particular.
“We walked into the room to find a gentleman and his wife there. They were obviously upset,” Morgan said. “He had been in for several days and his doctors still didn’t know what was causing his pain or how to stop it.
“We introduced ourselves and explained why we were there and tears just filled their eyes,” Morgan continued. “When you see someone touched like that, well, you know God is in it and it’s just indescribable how good He is.”
Peppers’ idea for the ministry came shortly after the death of his own parents.
“We don’t travel on Thanksgiving so this is really my family time,” he said. “Sharing the day with my church family and sharing with others from what we’ve received, that’s a real blessing.”