Church serves more than double its goal at dinner

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — The River Church of God celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early Saturday by serving a free meal to anyone who stopped by.
They even sent some people home with extra plates of food wrapped in foil.
Church buses drove around Salisbury and to the Rowan Helping Ministries homeless shelter, picking up those who needed transportation to the site.
Pastor Brian McMasters said these days, this kind of event isn’t unusual for River Church.
“About a year and a half ago, we decided we wanted to start giving back to the community,” McMasters said. “Once a month, we either feed people out of our building or go downtown and set up a grill in a parking lot.”
The church hoped to feed 250 people this weekend after feeding about 100 one year ago. After an hour, it already had matched last year’s total.
The hot meals included Thanksgiving staples like turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, along with several different kinds of vegetables, casseroles and desserts.
“We wanted to make sure people in Rowan County who can’t get a Thanksgiving meal have a meal this year,” said Lindsie McInnis, who serves as director of outreach along with her husband, Paul.
Salisbury resident Allen Lahostki said this is his second year coming to River Church’s Thanksgiving meal.
“I think it’s great,” Lahoski said. “Without it, I’d be pretty hungry until tomorrow’s lunch at the soup kitchen. It’s a blessing.”
Myrtle Truesdale, of Salisbury, said she came to the event because she saw a flyer and thought it would be fun to see the different people who came to eat.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I appreciate it, because nobody has to do it, but they did.”
McInnis said church members cooked at least 16 turkeys, about two dozen casseroles and 25 to 30 different desserts.
They also made side dishes like macaroni and cheese and brought drinks to serve.
Some of the turkeys were baked and brought in. Jeffery Hooker, of Salisbury, worked for hours Saturday to deep fry others.
Hooker became a member of River Church at a tent revival held earlier this year.
“Instead of going the wrong way, they helped me go the right way,” he said. “I’m giving back to the community because somebody helped me.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.