PARKERSBURG - About 600 meals were served Thursday at the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner by the Salvation Army in Parkersburg.
The annual dinner is prepared and served by volunteers from the community.
"It was a very well organized group of volunteers," said Lt. Mechelle Henry, a pastor and commanding officer for the Parkersburg unit of the Salvation Army. "I was impressed."
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
Volunteers, young and old, distributed food Thursday at the Salvation Army’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
Henry has been with the organization for 10 years, the last three and a half as a pastor.
Volunteers began cooking the turkey earlier this week and began preparing the dinners around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, she said. They included multiple generations of family members and a local high school ROTC group.
"It's been a generational thing for many volunteers to bring family," she said.
George and Sharon McGraw delivered meals to local residents who signed up for the service.
"We're glad we were able to help out today, it's been a blessing for us all," said Sharon.
The McGraws had their family Thanksgiving Saturday, so volunteering gave them a chance to give back to the community. They live just outside of Belpre.
"Instead of sitting around the house doing nothing we thought we would do something that can be a blessing," Sharon said.
Free coats also were distributed and volunteers assembled Christmas baskets on Thursday. Residents also volunteered to ring the bells at kettles today, the traditional day for the start of Christmas shopping, Henry said.
The Salvation Army also organizes a blanket drive that distributes more than 900 blankets to local nursing homes.
Susan Pettit has been a volunteer at the dinner for four years.
"I wanted to show God my devotion and the ways I've been blessed," she said.
Pettit and her husband recently returned to the area to be back with extended family. She also volunteers at Belpre Elementary School.
"So many people have so much and take it for granted," she said. "You have to not have (necessities) to understand."