Spreading holiday joy

Ministry brings Thanksgiving to thousands
Nov. 22, 2012 @ 06:31 PM

Jere Ferrell thought a good way to give thanks on Thursday would be to take some time to serve others.

The Thomasville woman spent part of her day helping prepare free Thanksgiving meals served by His Laboring Few Ministries. Ferrell was volunteering at Southside Mission in High Point, cutting pies that were going in take-out boxes filled with turkey, dressing, corn and rolls for delivery to area homeless, shut-ins and the elderly.
Volunteer drivers picked up box after box of the meals at the small building just south of Interstate 85 Business Loop and took them to locations all over the High Point and Thomasville areas.
“You get a bigger joy out of helping them than they do eating the food,” Ferrell said. “It’s a joy to be able to help the people.”
Ferrell’s son, who identified himself by his nickname, Bear, has been helping out serving the holiday meals for a few years. He said it brings him satisfaction to know that he and others are filling a need. 
“There are a lot of people out of work, a lot of people who are hurting,” he said. “This ministry is just awesome. It’s the whole community stepping up for one purpose.”
The biker ministry has been serving the meals for 19 years on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but had to change things up this year because the restaurant that served as its base of operations in past years closed. Volunteers prepared a little more than 5,000 meals at the ministry’s headquarters in Thomasville. Most of the meals were delivered, but the ministry also hosted a lunchtime buffet for anyone who wanted a free dinner.
The group also used Southside Mission as a distribution point. The ministry and various volunteers serve about 1,000 meals per week to the homeless at both locations year-round, so it was logical to use them for the holiday meals as well.
“It’s been different,” said Brent Turnipseed of His Laboring Few. “Even though we switched sites, the word is out. They’ll find us. We’ll feed as many as we can, as long as they keep coming. It’s all about the Lord for us. We’re just doing what he tells us to do.”
Turnipseed helped prepare the meals starting on Wednesday and worked through the night with other volunteers to get everything ready by Thursday morning. He said the meal program tries to meet people’s physical and spiritual needs, which can be especially acute during the holiday season.
“You see the highest rate of suicide, normally. It’s people being lonely, with no family,” he said.
It takes a monumental community fundraising effort to enable the ministry and other volunteers to buy the food and other materials needed to serve the meals, said Steve Ervin, pastor of the ministry.
“You see people coming together here – they’re from all denominations, all walks of life,” Ervin said. “I think it’s pretty clear there’s going to be a need for something like this for a long time to come.”
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531