WARRENSBURG – Johnson County CROP Walk is partnering with First United Methodist Church to provide Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 1. p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, at the church’s Family Life Center, 141 E. Gay St.
CROP Walk Engagement Chair Erica Jones-Collins said the annual feast is free and those interested in attending must make a reservation by Nov. 13. Collins said reservations can be made by calling 660-624-6931 or emailing email@example.com. The community can choose curbside pick-up, delivery or dining-in. However, a reservation must be made for all options.
Jones-Collins said those who want to donate funds can make checks out to The Food Center and write “Thanksgiving Meal” in the memo line or they can donate cash in an envelope titled “Thanksgiving Meal.” She said those who want to donate their time and services either as a delivery driver or at the dinner should use the same contact information used for reservations.
Jones-Collinss said more volunteers are needed because the organization serves around 400 meals every year.
“For the dine-in experience, we have to have people who are going to serve, who are going to bus tables and who are washing dishes because we use real plates,” Jones-Collins said. “So, that takes a lot of bodies to get that done. Then, we have individuals who help prepare the food in the kitchen, we have our delivery teams and then we have the people who run our curbside pick-up.”
Jones-Collins said whether a person decides to donate, work the event, or attend it, everyone is welcome. She said one of the best things about the annual Thanksgiving dinner is that the community comes together despite their differences.
“It crosses economic divides and ethnic divides,” Jones-Collins said. “We have individuals who have been recently widowed that come just because they don’t want to eat by themselves. There’s no division. Everyone just comes to get some good food.”
Besides bringing the community together, Jones-Collins said the goal of the CROP Walk’s Thanksgiving dinner is to reach those who may need them.
“The homeless are being reached,” Jones-Collins said. “Our airmen who can’t get home are being reached and our service providers are being reached. So, we’re reaching the masses and that’s what we are glad to do.”
Jones-Collins told the Star-Journal that CROP Walk, which is hosted by Church World Service, an international faith-based organization, originally started with the goal of creating freshwater wells in underdeveloped countries. She said that over the years, it has evolved and now money raised from CROP Walks goes toward the homeless, crises and natural disasters, sustaining agriculture and more. Another focus of Johnson County CROP Walk is spreading awareness as it pertains to food insecurity.
“Our mission is to eradicate food insecurity in communities,” Jones-Collins said.
She explained that CROP Walk has a food drive every month with the exception of April, October and November because they host the Thanksgiving dinner instead. Jones-Collins said turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert will be served at the Thanksgiving dinner. She said the food is prepared by a number of people.
“I typically will do the turkey because I like doing them,” Jones-Collinss began. “We have a couple of other people that help with that. We have someone who is the food manager at the senior center. She and her staff have been gracious enough to help us the past couple of years to get all the sides done.”