Donations, volunteers needed for free Thanksgiving dinner

Jeff Bobo • Oct 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Gathering contributions and volunteers for Rogersville’s ninth annual People Loving People Thanksgiving Dinner has begun.

The annual free Thanksgiving dinner will be served again this year at the Joseph Rogers Primary School in Rogersville on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, beginning at 11 a.m.

The People Loving People (PLP) organization set a new record in 2011 by serving or delivering more than 2,400 meals consisting of more than two tons of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

PLP is a nonprofit organization composed of an all-volunteer staff who prepare, serve and deliver meals, as well as clean and decorate the cafeteria and clean up after the event.

“Our free Thanksgiving dinner has continued to grow and succeed over the years,” said PLP founder Dr. Blaine Jones. “This has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings any of our volunteers have ever participated in. God truly has his hand on this wonderful day, and he blesses those who are in need, and he blesses those of us who serve.”

The dinner is cooked from scratch and includes Thanksgiving Day favorites including turkey, ham, vegetables, rolls and desserts.

The Sullivan Baptist Disaster Relief Kitchen and Crew will prepare the meal again this year under the direction of Chef Russ Williamson.

“We essentially have outgrown the kitchen facilities at the school,” Jones said. “The SBDR team volunteered to help us out, and honestly it would have been very difficult to prepare that much food without them the past few years.”

Volunteers are needed for every aspect of the event. Anyone wishing to volunteer can call Cary Lewis Barton at (423) 345-3743.

The first organizational meeting has been scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Hawkins County Memorial Hospital cafeteria.

“We specifically need volunteers at the end of the day to help us clean the kitchen and cafeteria area,” Jones said. “We would greatly welcome a church or civic group stepping up and taking this chore over for us. We will need folks to help deliver the meals, serve in the dining hall, and numerous other jobs. We will put you to work, and trust me, you will be blessed. Last year we utilized well over 350 people in various jobs, and we will need them again if not more this year.”

The event is funded completely through contributions. Jones noted that in these economic times he has seen the demand for this event grow every year in the community, as well as the need for contributions.

Donations may be sent to: Four Square Inc., c/o People Loving People Thanksgiving Dinner; P.O. Box 35; Rogersville, TN 37857. All donations are used strictly to purchase the food for the dinner.

“We want everyone who needs a meal or needs some company to join us on Thanksgiving Day,” Jones said. “No one needs to be alone or not have a meal on this special holiday. We will of course be delivering meals to those who cannot come to the meal, and we can arrange transportation to and from the meal for those who need that.

“God has truly blessed our organization, and this Thanksgiving dinner is to be a blessing to all who need it and all who work to make it happen. We give God all the glory for this wonderful day.”

Information about requesting meal deliveries will be released as the event draws closer.

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