Love Thy Neighbor program hosts Thanksgiving dinners in Badin, Albemarle

A recent Thanksgiving tradition for the Badin community has been the community meal hosted at the Isaiah Westbrook Community Center.

This meal, along with a meal Thanksgiving evening at First Street United Methodist Church, fed people as part of the Love Thy Neighbor initiative.

John Westbrook said the initiative began about eight years ago, and fed around 200 people in Badin. The meal at First Street UMC celebrated its seventh annual event this year.

Attendees enjoyed a turkey dinner with dressing and all the fixings, and could take a meal home as well.

Westbrook said the meals in Badin have been important to the community because the town has had its challenges.

“From plant closures to people moving out, just different things. It’s always important to bring people together,” Westbrook said. “Some people take meals with them home so they have something. It’s a day of rest…everyone needs a day off.”

Giving people a free Thanksgiving meal, he added, also helps people “put a few dollars back in their pocket that they would otherwise spend” on either eating out or groceries.

Rick DeAngelo, a member of First Street UMC, attended the Thanksgiving evening meal and spoke about the importance of being able to share a meal with people.

“The fellowship is so important, because when we do things as a community, it means more than individually…getting here as a group symbolizes and reinforces our beliefs and Christian foundation, especially today with so many people becoming isolated through technology,” DeAngelo said.

Maggie Kenyon, left, puts a helping of cranberry sauce on a meal to go as Sue Turner of Will’s Place holds the container. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO/staff)

DeAngelo said all the groups in the community like Love Thy Neighbor are important.

“There is power in plurality, whereby if we can get together and reinforce our beliefs and faiths, we can prolong them,” DeAngelo said.