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Dozens of volunteers distribute hundreds of Thanksgiving meals in Stewartstown

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

About 78 volunteers worked for days to prepare to distribute 251 carryout turkey dinners  at Stewartstown United Methodist Church on Thanksgiving Day.

The Stewartstown church's community Thanksgiving dinner tradition was started by church member Leonard Deavers in the mid-1990s and has continued after his death in 2015.

“When I took over, the thing that I loved about it was the camaraderie of the church members who would come together,” Ginger Babcock, of Stewartstown, said. Babcock coordinated the dinners for four years and continues to volunteer her time in the kitchen after leaving her position this year.

“It’s good for the church, but it’s also good for the community,” she added.

Jeremy Sechrist, of Red Lion, carries bags filled with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and more as volunteers serve 251 carryout dinners at Stewartstown United Methodist Church in Stewartstown, on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

This year, the event, which is usually held in the fellowship hall, was different. Recipients signed up for dinners in advance and pickup times were scheduled.

Volunteers prepared 17 turkeys and offered the meals free of charge.

“We had to do something just to express care for the community,” said Senior Pastor Keith Braucher.

He said that one of the primary purposes of the event was to be able to talk to people, to help them feel cared for and to give them a chance to have some human contact.

Kim Hoyt, left, hands fliers to Delanie Sharar, 6, front right, as she and her mother Andrea Sharar, back right, join other volunteers in serving 251 Thanksgiving carryout dinners at Stewartstown United Methodist Church in Stewartstown, on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“We’ve always wanted to do something like this to serve the community,” said church member Andrea Sharar. She and her husband, Bentley Sharar, of Hopewell Township, worked the event with their two children as a way to teach them to have a grateful heart and to be thankful for what they have.

“One thing our church started, as a result of COVID, is a food pantry food ministry,” said Terri Hebel, of Shrewsbury Township, who coordinated the dinner this year. “We now do food distributions on Saturday mornings, so any donations that do come in from this meal all go to support that ministry.”

 “We just feel privileged and blessed to be able to do this,”  Braucher said.