St. John serves community Thanksgiving dinner for 33rd year

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Photo courtesy of Glen Stewart / Barb Piston of Ocean City volunteers as a server at last year's community Thanksgiving dinner held at St. John Lutheran Church at 10th Street and Central Avenue in Ocean City. Photo courtesy of Glen Stewart / Barb Piston of Ocean City volunteers as a server at last year's community Thanksgiving dinner held at St. John Lutheran Church at 10th Street and Central Avenue in Ocean City.

OCEAN CITY – Turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes served by volunteers at St. John Lutheran Church on Thanksgiving won’t be the main course. Fellowship will.

“It’s more about the need to be with other people than the need for food,” said church secretary Donna Yerger, who estimated 150 to 175  community members will sit down at 1 p.m. Thursday for a full-course holiday feast served by volunteers.

The community dinner, which started 33 years ago with an unmarried pastor preparing the traditional holiday meal in the church kitchen with similarly unattached congregants, has grown into an event that attracts singles, older couples, people with no family close by, and the occasional large group that prefers the church environment to a more public one.

“Who wants to go to a restaurant by themselves?” Yerger asked.

Turns out, not many people. The dinner is not reserved only for those unable to provide such a meal for themselves. Yerger said it is “our gift to the community,” and is open to everyone.

While reservations are running a little behind previous years, Yerger said, “There are more volunteers than ever wanting to help put food on plates.”

She said it is possible the increase in volunteers is a reflection of the thankfulness some residents are feeling since Superstorm Sandy spared them the damage and destruction others suffered.


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