Charles County Commissioners’ President-Elect Reuben Collins and Sheriff Troy Berry are ready to serve–Thanksgiving dinner.
Waldorf, MD – Southern Maryland’s largest county is ready to take a bite out of hunger. What better time to grab the attention of the community than on America’s number one food day—Thanksgiving. The “Let’s Hunger Thanksgiving Dinner” was held Thursday, Nov. 22 at Middleton Hall in Waldorf. The large banquet/event venue is home to Chef Kendall Selby, who was one of over a dozen Charles County organizers to start End Hunger in Charles County. The effort is led by members of the faith-based community, three local liquor store owners, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Charles County Department of Social Services, the law firm of the Charles County Commissioners’ president-elect and LifeStyles of Maryland who have formed an alliance to aid the county’s less-fortunate.
“It’s the first year Charles County has done it this way,” said Selby, who noted there are organizations in the community that have provided Thanksgiving suppers. “We have a facility to feed the masses. We want no one to go to bed hungry.”
Selby commended Commissioners’ President-Elect Reuben Collins for taking an active role in the county’s End Hunger movement. “We are following the lead of the new president,” he said.
“This will be a sustainable program to end hunger in our community,” said Collins. “It’s a partnership with so many great people.”
“It’s not replacing all the stuff that’s out there, it’s adding to it,” said Lifestyles of Maryland Executive Director Sandy Washington, who was gratified by the turnout of volunteers on hand to help Selby and his staff in the kitchen and serve the meals to those attending. “We’re not turning anyone away,” Washington said.
“We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time,” said Ashok Kavi of The Liquor Store in Waldorf, one of five retailers involved in the End Hunger effort.
“We are part of our community and it is part of our duty to give back,” said Tony, who was representing Country Place Liquors in Bryans Road.
“I think this is awesome,” said Delegate C.T. Wilson, who indicated he thought the Thanksgiving supper for the community was a good start for the new alliance. “We need to do this more often.”
“I will be greeting the guests and then will have an opportunity to serve food,” said Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry, who recalled meeting with the other organizers several months ago to find a strategic solution to help the county’s low income residents. Berry told TheBayNet.com that, to date, “the collaboration has been overwhelming.” The sheriff said that some of his deputies and civilian staff were helping out at the Thanksgiving dinner “on a volunteer basis” and others had donated money to the drive to make the holiday banquet a reality.
Selby and his kitchen crew had prepared enough turkey, ham, dressing, collard greens, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, biscuits and macaroni and cheese—plus homemade gravy, apple pie and pumpkin pie to serve thousands and provided seconds and takeout if requested. “You aren’t going to eat me out of house and home,” Selby declared.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Washington asked. She was truly astounded at the number of volunteers who arrived early and stayed all afternoon. Washington, whose agency aids the homeless as well as the hungry, said the notion that poor are that way because they don’t work simply isn’t true. “Some of them work more than one job,” she noted. Washington said it was truly gratifying to see the business community participating in the End Hunger mission. “The fact they saw this as worthwhile—they are doing this from their hearts. That’s amazing.”
The stereotypical image of Thanksgiving dinner for the community didn’t apply so much to the Middleton Hall event. It was a party, as volunteers and guests danced and sang karaoke-style throughout the afternoon. Even Collins and Berry were recruited to perform in a Temptations-style number.
While most of the volunteers were Charles County residents, at least three came all the way from Baltimore to help. Candice Pannebaker and her sons Ethan and Riley spent a few hours serving up the holiday repast.
Prior to the supper, True Gospel Church Pastor Thirkel Freeman offered a blessing, saying “the hand of God” was moving the volunteers and End Hunger in Charles County organizers forward. After the amen was said it was time to eat. With all hands moving, a memorable, first-ever Thanksgiving banquet was ready to be served.
Learn more about End Hunger in Charles County from the LifeStyles of Maryland web site.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org