CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Numerous organizations in North Central West Virginia are giving their time and effort this week to assure all area residents have a hot meal for Thanksgiving.
Two of the largest dinners in Harrison County are at the Clarksburg Mission and at the Salvation Army.
“There are a lot of these folks who wouldn’t have a meal at all if it wasn’t for organizations like the Mission and the Salvation Army who do this,” said Cpt. John Sikes of the Salvation Army of Clarksburg. “We have elderly folks coming to us who are on fixed incomes, and if it was not for the Mission and the Salvation Army they would not have a meal, so we’re very excited about tomorrow.”
This is Cpt. Sikes’ second Thanksgiving as leader of Clarksburg’s Salvation Army, serving over 500 individuals.
“This is a hot meal that they can come in, have a meal, sit and just enjoy it,” he said. “Also, in that 500, there’s a little over 250 that are being delivered to shut in and the folks that can’t get out, so they can also have that hot meal.”
The meal will include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli casserole, green beans and various types of pie.
On Tuesday, the Salvation Army sent out over 400 Thanksgiving baskets to serve the community, each filled with all of the ingredients needed for families to prepare their own Thanksgiving dinners.
“Some of the ones, of course, that we take dinner to are shut ins that can’t get out,” Sikes said. “Those who are coming in, you could have a single mom with several kids that’s on limited income, so this is her only meal. You have folks who are out of work.
“We have grandparents that are coming that have raised their kids and for some reason or another, they’re now raising their grandkids. They’re coming and bringing their grandkids so they can have a hot meal,” he said. “It ranges from young couples and young singles all the way up to older grandparents that will show up tomorrow.”
In addition to Thanksgiving dinner, the Clarksburg Mission is also serving breakfast this year.
“We’ll probably do scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon. We’ll do that from about 9 to 9:30,” said Angela Knight, food service manager for the Clarksburg Mission.
Knight said she is expecting about 150 people for this year’s Thanksgiving Day.
“Of course, everybody’s welcome. I would love for that number to increase,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to spend this holiday season alone. There’s no need to. We’d love to have you come be part of our family. Let us love on you like God’s loved on us.”
Dinner will include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli casserole and green beans. The turkeys are made by Bill Nichols, who also receives cooking help from his granddaughter, Melody Nichols.
“I save the mashed potatoes, the green beans and the stuffing for the volunteers that come here so they can put their own little spin on it so it’s a homecooked meal. I try to get the volunteers involved as much as possible,” Knight said.
The pies are made by Julio’s Cafe in Glen Elk, she said.
Knight said she is amazed and grateful for all of the community support the Clarksburg Mission has received for this year’s dinner.
“A lot of members of our community have been so supportive this year, and it’s really made this possible,” she said. “We couldn’t do what we do without our community. We don’t spend any money on any of the food that we get.”
Hannah Provoznik, a student and Key Club member at Bridgeport High School, started a “Box it Up” campaign to provide turkeys to the Mission for this year’s dinner.
Sikes said the Salvation Army also relies heavily on community volunteers to provide all that they do.
“They take their Thanksgiving Day out to come and serve others,” he said. “They could be with their families, doing numerous other things, like watching the football game, but they have chosen to come and help us serve these folks. I’m so excited and thankful to our volunteers who supoprt us in this way.”
The biggest challenge each year, Knight said, is not preparing food for so many people but assuring that they can be there for all of the people who walk through the Mission’s doors.
“Although food opens the door, really it’s about making that connection and identifying with a community member who might be in need, taking that time out to say ‘How are you today,” and showing that you care because that’s really where it’s at,” she said.
Dinner at the Salvation Army will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their location at 1010 S. Chestnut Street.
The Clarksburg Mission will serve from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at their 312 N. 4th Street location in the Glen Elk section of Clarksburg.
Other Thanksgiving dinners in the region include West Virginia Union Missions in Fairmont, the First Baptist Church Lighthouse in Shinnston, New Bethel United Methodist Church in Good Hope, St. Patrick Church in Weston, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Buckhannon and Crim United Methodist Church in Philippi.