Thanksgiving Day began early, as it has for the past 20 years, for a handful of volunteers at Marvin United Methodist Church. They were in aprons and cooking before sunrise to warm food they had been preparing for the past week to feed more than 200 residents.
This year, they prepared 27 turkeys with sides and fixings, including homemade giblet gravey and sweet potato pie. The food was packed and picked up by volunteers and members of the Grovetown Department of Public Safety, who plated and delivered the meals.
Spearheading the meal preparation for the past decade was Marvin UMC member Mary Eashpreparation, Eash, who said the church has partnered with Grovetown United Methodist Church for the past three or four years.
“It’s a labor of love,” Eash said Wednesday by phone while she was on her way to pick up a few extra groceries for the meal . “It’s a lot of work, but it truly is a labor of love.”
Eash said the food is donated or purchased with donations to the church.
Alongside Eash on Thanksgiving Day were members Charmel and Lupe Moreno, who arrived at the church at 6 a.m., to warm and pack the prepared food for the Grovetown crew. Charmel Moreno’s mother spent the first three days of the week making 20 homemade sweet potato pies for the meals.
Grovetown Police Chief Scott Wheatley and others assisted in picking up the food around 10 a.m. from the church.
From there, the food was delivered to fire station 2 in Grovetown, where volunteers and first responders were at the ready to plate it.
Bags lined the tables in the truck bay of the fire station with names and addresses of people in need of a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day and police and fire vehicles were loaded for delivery by the first-responders.
“We are delivering meals provided by Marvin United Methodist Church of Martinez to some people that maybe didn’t have a Thanksgiving meal or don’t have any family to prepare one for them that may be elderly folks or people in need,” Wheatley said. “And we will plate the meals up then the police department, and fire department will deliver the meals to those people. “
Wheatley said three road patrols and one fire truck delivered the 214 meals.
Volunteering with the meal delivery for the first year was the newly formed Team Grovetown, a group comprised of local residents who work together on community improvement.
“We figured through community service you can kind of bring everyone together no matter what you believe,” said Team Grovetown founder Frank Estrada.
Recipients of the meals are found through the local first-responder agencies and through school counselors.
At the church, volunteers celebrated the successful meal preparation with a toast with sparkling grape juice.