650 Community Members Join in Thanksgiving Feast

Enjoying a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus are Bill and Arlene Gibson during the free Thanksgiving dinner at Second Baptist Church. The famous holiday couple took time from their busy schedule to stop by the church and spread cheer throughout the community. (Photo courtesy of Santa and Mrs. Claus)

By Lura Jackson


The Second Baptist Church was a lively place on Thanksgiving, with hundreds of community members coming to enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal with their friends and loved ones. 650 meals were served by the end of the day, all of which were provided and served by volunteers.

The event was organized in part through the efforts of “Grampie” Bill Gibson and his wife, Arlene. The couple have been the primary driving force in sponsoring the free community Thanksgiving meals for the past few years, as well as a new offering of a traditional Easter meal. For this year’s event, fifty turkeys were carved and prepared well in advance. “We love to do it,” Gibson said afterwards.

On Thanksgiving itself, keeping the servings of the various dishes coming out of the kitchen took the coordination of nearly forty volunteers. Many of the volunteers came from various local churches, demonstrating that it was an ecumenical function. Others simply came to lend a helping hand.

The guests and volunteers were treated to a special surprise when, for the first time, Santa and Mrs. Claus came to greet the assembled community. “Everyone loved it,” Gibson said, expressing that it was a joy for young and old alike. For the occasion, volunteers Cindy and Buck Wartman played the roles of the famous holiday figures. 

More than forty volunteers from across the community came to serve 650 people during the free Thanksgiving supper at Second Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy of David Sivret)