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Yearly feast may attract more people in need this year
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LAMP Thanksgiving dinner

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: La Flor de Jalisco, 425 Atlanta Highway

If you are interested in donating food for LAMP Ministries’ Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, contact Mary Mauricio at 678-978-0279.

Mary Mauricio needs some pumpkin pies for Saturday. And a few turkeys would help, too.

Mauricio, who with her husband, Ruben, founded the Latin American Missionary Program — LAMP — 12 years ago, has hosted an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the hungry for the past five years. This year, with food donations down, she hopes they don’t come up short.

A recent hospitalization put her behind on campaigning for contributions for the dinner, which last year fed about 250 low-income Hispanics, whites and African-Americans.

The meal is served in the parking lot of the La Flor de Jalisco supermarket on Atlanta Highway.

The dinner traditionally is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving so the 20 or so volunteers can spend the holiday with their families.

LAMP’s ministry is focused on reaching at-risk children, including teen dropouts and runaways, and young single mothers. The group is assisted by Murrayville Congregational Holiness Church and the Hispanic Assembly of God.

Mauricio said LAMP started its annual dinner "because people were hungry and they had nowhere to have their Thanksgiving meal. We saw the need of people being hungry."

The first year, the meal was hosted in a home, with 30 or 40 people taking part.

By last year, several hundred were fed by the group. Mauricio says even more could show up Saturday.

"Because of the economy, people are really hurting," she said.

The meals are cooked off-site and served in the parking lot. Folks can eat there or take them home, she said.

Though it will be held in a predominately Hispanic area of town, the dinner is not exclusively for Latinos.

"It’s a community event, and it’s for everyone," she said.

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