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4,000-plus meals served at ‘Feeding’

4,000-plus meals served at ‘Feeding’

Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 6:25 am

By CHRIS MENEES Messenger Staff Reporter Community Feeding of the 5,000 co-coordinator Hattie Lou Brown is tired today, but it’s a “good” tired. She’s counting her blessings while she’s resting her feet in the aftermath of another highly-successful Feeding of the 5,000. The Community Feeding of the 5,000 — based on the biblical account of Jesus’ feeding a multitude with a little boy’s lunch of fish and bread — was staged throughout the day Monday at Union City First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center. It sought to provide a traditional Thanksgiving meal to anyone in need in the community or anyone who would simply benefit from receiving a homecooked meal. Mrs. Brown said she knows over 4,000 meals were served Monday either as dine-in dinners at the church’s Family Life Center or as delivery meals that were shipped out across Obion County and all of the surrounding counties. In addition, 600 bags of groceries were given to families in need who visited the Family Life Center. “It was nothing but a blessing,” Mrs. Brown said today. Individuals, churches of all denominations, businesses, civic organizations and school groups rallied together to provide the food items for the meal — turkey and dressing, gravy, green beans, cooked apples, cranberry sauce and pie — and the non-perishable food items for the many sacks of groceries. Dozens of volunteers cooked food items, while dozens more converged on Union City First Baptist Church Saturday to help set up and Monday to help serve, package or deliver meals. “Between Saturday and Monday, we had over 250 volunteers to work,” Mrs. Brown said. “They were a blessing and to them, I say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’” She estimates about 3,000 meals were delivered throughout the day Monday, while about 1,000 people chose to enjoy fellowship with others as they dined at the Family Life Center. The delivery meals went to shut-ins and senior citizens in several counties in northwest Tennessee and to several agencies or residential outlets that serve senior citizens or families in need in the area. “We reached out,” Mrs. Brown said. “And we tried to cover every church’s homebound.” She said God provided everything in abundance, much like the biblical account of the Feeding of the 5,000 that the local effort is based upon. She said there was “plenty of food,” as well as plenty of volunteers and plenty of vans for deliveries. At one point, she knows there were 18 vans in line to load delivery meals. She said she tried to give one volunteer a gas card to help with fuel for his vehicle and the man told her, “God never let me run out of gas.” Mrs. Brown — who will celebrate her 90th birthday this weekend — received a special treat of her own Monday when her grandson, Ward Brown, and his wife, Melinda, who live in Nashville, surprised her by walking into the Family Life Center. Her grandson won’t be able to attend a scheduled family celebration for her birthday in Nashville, so he and his wife decided to surprise Mrs. Brown in her hometown. “He just walked in and he said, ‘Happy Birthday,’” Mrs. Brown said. “It was the neatest surprise.” While here, they joined other volunteers in cleaning tables, picking up plates and delivering meals. Overall, the entire day was a huge success, according to Mrs. Brown. “It went well, with no problems,” she said. “We learn from it every year.” Even though Feeding of the 5,000 is officially over for 2008, items collected for the meal are continuing to benefit the community today. Any leftover food from the meal and many canned good have been donated to Helping Hands and the feeding program at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, according to Mrs. Brown. “I feel like if it comes in from the community, it should go back to the community to help those who need it,” she said. Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.25.08

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