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Care Ministries serves area seniors a pre-Thanksgiving dinner
Sheryl Hendrix prepares cup after cup of iced tea to serve to guests Saturday at the St. Paul United Methodist Church on Summit Street fellowship hall during The Care Ministries Pre-Thanksgiving Day Dinner. The second annual event was in recognition of the neighborhood’s senior citizens and the residents of Church Manor Street Apartments.

Care Ministries presented its second annual Pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday in honor of senior citizens at Church Street Manor Apartments.

The dinner was served at St. Paul United Methodist Church on Summit Street with the help of 20-plus volunteers.

"We picked a set of apartments that we thought we should show our thanks and gratitude to for the path they paved for us," said Andrew Jackson, director of Care Ministries at St. Paul. "It is a way to give back to the community and to show them that we care about them."

Although many churches and other organizations decide to offer dinner on Thanksgiving Day, St. Paul thought it was a good idea to serve to seniors before the holiday.

"We didn’t want to do it on Thanksgiving because they may be with their regular families, so this was a way to give them the opportunity to take part in this," Jackson said.

Jackson said he enjoys taking part in events such as the dinner because he has been through a lot himself and feels it makes him a better person to give back to the community.

It was Hugh L. Dorsey’s second time attending the Pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Dorsey looked around the room and said that at 93, he figured he was the oldest person there.

Dorsey enjoys getting out and meeting new people and looks forward to Thanksgiving. When asked what he is thankful for, he smiled and said, "everything."

Vanessa Ellison, a volunteer at the dinner, decided to participate because she welcomes an opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

"I’m a teacher, so I work with children, and I’m president of a mission group called United Methodist Women Mission Group, and we’re always looking for opportunities to serve locally," Ellison said. "So much of our funds go across the world, and we send money lots of places, but we really want to be hands on."

Ellison thinks it is important to help with events that highlight senior citizens because it is an honorable thing to do.

"These people have been strong and reliable workers, and when they are in their senior years, they’re not as strong in those areas, and we’re all going to be there one day," Ellison said.

Ellison said that it is good to help alleviate seniors’ stress and offer comfort to those whose family may be far away.

"We just want to spread a little joy and a little love and make sure that they know they’re not alone," Ellison said.