Volunteers preparing for Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21

No one should feel alone at Thanksgiving. Hopefully, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner will allow residents to enjoy comfort food and comfortable fellowship.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at Bob Jones on Nov. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Inside-Out Ministries will host the its third annual dinner at the Bob Jones High School cafeteria on Nov. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m.

“The meal is designed for many who may not have family in the area and (can’t) travel to family this year. Some may have deployed family members,” Deborah Ward said. She and husband Larry Ward founded Inside-Out. “We just don’t want anyone to spend Thanksgiving alone. A holiday is not a time to be alone.”

Instead of a formal event, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner is like a huge, potluck meal with multiple churches and businesses, who “play a special part, just like our families do when we come together for Thanksgiving,” Ward said.

Any Madison resident is welcome. “We just aren’t large enough to cover the county or North Alabama,” she said.

Inside-Out Ministries needs at least 100 volunteers for two shifts “for everything from pouring drinks and serving desserts to making conversation and getting to know our guests,” Ward said. “Those slots are filling fast.”

Children can eat and be entertained in their own area, allowing the adults to relax.

Ivey’s Restaurant will cater a traditional, Southern meal with turkey and dressing. Volunteers, churches and the Bob Jones culinary students will cook side dishes and desserts.

“The meal and fellowship are absolutely free,” Ward said. Sponsors include Bob Jones Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Junior Civitans and culinary students; CrossPointe, Asbury United Methodist and Madison Christian churches; Asbury Community Thrift Store; Ivey’s; Chick-fil-A; Sonic; Wendy’s; and many individuals.

Inside-Out Ministries sees seasonal fluctuations of need. “Winter is weather, car and health. Summer is weather and food. We work hard to be here — to offer help in those difficult times,” Ward said. Inside-Out is a “temporary gap filler to get over the bump in the road.”

For volunteer information, send email to iom.thanksgiving.volunteer@gmail.com. For reservations, call 256-325-5193.

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