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Churches offer food, fellowship on Thanksgiving

(Nov. 22, 2013) Two local churches will provide Thanksgiving dinners with turkey and all the trimmings free of charge for those looking for fellowship and a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day.

“You don’t have to be poor to come,” said Terry Davis, retired pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church. “The idea is just to not have Thanksgiving dinner alone.”

For more than 30 years, the church in downtown Ocean City has been providing holiday meals at almost no cost to the ministry itself.

“Members contribute, friends give money. We’ve had places like Food Lion and others donate turkeys,” Davis said. “It ultimately pays for itself. It’s an amazing ministry.”

Volunteers from the church, other area churches and the community help pull the meal off without a hitch, serving between 600 and 700 each Thanksgiving for the past three years, he said.

This year, Davis expects up to 400 sit-down diners, with the rest taking their meals to go from the church.

Over on Williams Street in Berlin, Berlin First Baptist Church will be celebrating Thanksgiving for its 27th year with a community dinner.

“It’s a big undertaking, but we all love doing it,” said Sharon Parsons, officer manager at the church.

Last year, the church provided 480 meals. “And we’re expecting 500, 550 this year,” Parsons said. She already had 103 reservations made two weeks in advance.

Up to 40 volunteers start cooking the day before to create the traditional dinner with turkey and sides including dressing, gravy, green beans and yams, she said.

Diners can dine in, carry out or even call in advance to have the meal delivered if they’re unable to get there.

“People come and go” during the dinner, but “good food, the fellowship, just knowing it’s being done in Christ’s love” keep them coming back year after year, she said.

Thanksgiving dinner takes place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28 at the church at 613 William St. in Berlin. Those who would like to attend should call 410-641-4306 in advance to reserve their seats or carryout meals at Berlin First Baptist Church.

The Ocean City Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner is the same day between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the church located next to 7-Eleven at 102 N. Division St. in downtown Ocean City. Diners can show up to the dinner for an eat-in or carry-out meal, but should call the church at 410-289-4054 ahead of time if they need meals delivered in Ocean City or West Ocean City.

Volunteers are welcome to show up to help the day of the Ocean City dinner. Call Berlin First Baptist Church at 410-641-4306 in advance to help serve the meal.

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