Community cooking up free Thanksgiving dinner
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor
Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:17
For more than two decades, Grace Brethren Church and Christ's Church in Bowling Green have joined forces for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. This year is no exception with the free Thanksgiving meal being offered on Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Bowling Green Community Center, 1245 W. Newton Road, at the corner of Ohio Route 64.
|File photo. Seniors enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner at the Bowling Green Senior Center last year. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
In addition to this meal, other area churches are also providing meals or hosting a meal to assist people.
While obviously, a free meal will be welcomed by those in need, organizers of the Bowling Green event stress this is designed for everyone as a way to bring the entire community together.
Pastor Doug McKinney of Christ's Bible Church said the two churches joined forces more than 20 years ago as this is now the 22nd annual event.
It has been held at various locations over the years but has settled in at the Community Center for the last several years.
"When we started this, we did not want this to be a situation where the poor of Bowling Green are paraded through the line. This is not a soup kitchen," McKinney said. "This is a community event where everyone in the community is invited. We hope and pray that those in need can come."
He added the beauty of the meal is that members of the congregation and their families join in the celebration of Thanksgiving as they have an enjoyable afternoon with others regardless of income or social status.
The pastor said the event continues to grow, and last year there were far more than 400 meals served.
The two churches and their congregations primarily fund the event with members of the churches providing the turkey and pies for the meal. Other individuals and businesses provide additional food, either for the meal or as door prizes which are given away approximately every 15 minutes.
"That adds to the fun," he said. "I look forward to this event very much."
For those unable to get to the meal, free transportation is provided by Erica Sleek, director of All About the Kids Learning Center in Bowling Green.
Free transportation will be provided between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The return rides will be provided between 6 and 7 p.m. Rides must be requested by 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Other area meals being offered include:
• Global Connection - a local non-profit organization that serves the International community in Bowling Green - will be holding its annual International Thanksgiving Dinner, sponsored and hosted by Bowling Green Covenant Church, 1165 Haskins Road, Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. All internationals and their family members are invited to join Global Connections for a Thanksgiving dinner featuring traditional American Thanksgiving food and including many international dishes.
Originally organized years ago to provide a Thanksgiving experience for students who may not have any family in the area, it has now expanded to the entire international community in the Bowling Green area. Many people come together for this event, and the public is invited.
There will also be a free raffle of various small household items and gift cards to area stores and restaurants as well as entertainment provided by international students.
If community members are interested in donating food or raffle prizes or volunteering, they should contact Julie George, executive director of Global Connections, at 419-494-3077 or
George said they always look forward to having the entire international community together for the meal.
• Broken Chains Church, located at the Woodland Mall, is taking a unique approach to its Thanksgiving outreach. Members of the church will each "host" a table for a Thanksgiving meal, also on Wednesday.
The meal will be by invitation as church members will seek to find people in the community who would most appreciate the hospitality of a free Thanksgiving feast. The various hosts will then break bread with those people at the meal. They are expecting roughly 70 people to attend.
• For the fourth consecutive year, Elmore Church of God will be offering a free Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day at the Woodmore High School cafeteria, 633 Fremont St., Elmore. Though primarily for Ottawa and Sandusky County residents, Northern Wood County residents connected to the area are welcome to attend.
Serving will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu features a free turkey including homemade pumpkin pie and other desserts.
Last year, there were more than 300 in attendance and they expect 400 this year. The public is invited.
Canned goods will be accepted to support local food pantries and unwrapped toys to give to Toys For Tots.
Anyone who would like to donate their time for this event should contact Robin Hindall at