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Holiday Park United Methodist Church offers dinner for Thanksgiving

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

David Heasley was looking for ways to further community outreach at Holiday Park United Methodist Church.

Heasley's vision and the church's theme for November — “God-sized dreams” — have meshed together in plans for the first Thanksgiving Community Dinner on Nov. 22 at Holiday Park United Methodist Church.

“I thought, ‘Why not have a community Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims did or the Hebrews did when they left Egypt and had Passover to remember it,'” said Heasley, 51, of Monroeville.

“We are trying to grow into a community outreach, and we need to put it into action.”

Heasley, a small group leader at the church, earlier this month began working with the Rev. Joel Garrett, pastor and members of the congregation to assemble a team of volunteers to prepare and serve the dinner on Thanksgiving.

“We made an announcement on Sunday morning (Nov. 4) about the dinner to see if people would want to work and make it happen,” Garrett said. “We weren't sure if Thanksgiving is the best day to do it.”

The call was answered, Heasley said, with more than 50 members of the congregation volunteering to make covered dishes, seat, serve, clean up and pick up those who don't have transportation.

Youth-group members, including Heasley's daughter, Katie, 14, also are among those who have volunteered.

Turkey and potatoes will be prepared by a member of the congregation who is a corporate chef.

In addition to inviting members of the community, officials also hope to see familiar faces at the dinner.

“We encourage the congregation to join us as a family and bring a friend or neighbor,” Heasley said.

Volunteers also will take meals to the elderly and those who are unable to leave their homes.

Heasley said those who are interested in attending should contact the church, leave their first name and the number planning to attend.

Garrett said he hopes the dinner will become an annual event.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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