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Thanksgiving meals distributed in MOV

Photos by James Dobbs Volunteers Fourester Williams, 13, left, and Morgan Harper package meals to be delivered Thursday at Norwood United Methodist Church in Marietta.

MARIETTA — Volunteers on both sides of the Ohio River assembled and delivered meals for folks in the community Thursday.

Norwood United Methodist Church in Marietta offered pickup and delivery of Thanksgiving meals consisting of mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, a side of gravy, pie and choice of turkey or ham. Volunteers helped box up 450 meals and make deliveries.

Thanksgiving meal coordinator Mike Williams has been helping the church with the holiday meal for four years.

He said he loves cooking and helping out the community.

“There’s just this impact,” he said. “And I think it’s just not only connecting with those people and doing things for other people, but doing it in a way that I’m interested in.”

Williams said he knows that even though he isn’t delivering the meals, there is meaning to what he is doing as a volunteer.

“Immediately I know that people are being fed today off of something I enjoy doing and that’s, you know, meaningful,” he said.

Williams said he cooked everything, including 96 boxes of stovetop stuffing, three gallons of mashed potatoes, 320 cans of green beans, 240 pounds of turkey breast and 72 pounds of ham, as well as pie.

The meal is something simple that makes a huge impact on the community, Williams said. There is food scarcity in the area, which the church tries to combat with 15 to 20 community dinners a month. The Thanksgiving meal costs less than $2,000 to make, Williams said.

Columbus resident Morgan Harper, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate for Ohio, volunteered at the church Thursday. Harper said she previously ran a grassroots organization called Columbus Stand Up. Throughout the pandemic the organization volunteered with Meals on Wheels, distributed over 30,000 masks throughout central Ohio and took 500 people to vaccine appointments.

“I just really believe in the power of grassroots and community just stepping up, but then through the Senate campaign, we’re trying to get to other parts of the state,” she said.

She said she knew about the Thanksgiving meal operation at the church and wanted to come down, volunteer and show her support.

The Salvation Army at 534 Fifth Street also offered carryout and delivery Thanksgiving fare on Thursday, with meals available in Pleasants and Wirt Counties as well. Meals consisted of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie and water.

Maj. Carey Richmond, one of the Corps officers at the Salvation Army, said 1,500 meals total were served for the holiday.

“This is just one of the many things that we do throughout the year to make sure that those that are in need in our community are taken care of,” said Richmond.

She said she is glad she is able to help serve God and help those in need in the community.

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Sgt. Nick Hayek said he volunteers at the Salvation Army to instill a sense of service within his son.

“We’re volunteering to give back,” said Hayek. “We’re pretty fortunate with out health and finances and to be able to help out those that aren’t afforded the same opportunities as everybody else.”

James Dobbs can be reached at jdobbs@newsandsentinel.com

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