LONG BRANCH: Once again this year the kitchen and dining area in the rooms below St. Luke's United Methodist Church on Broadway at the corner of Washington were busy with volunteers preparing and serving Thanksgiving Day meals for the many who visited from the city and neighboring communities - Eatontown and Oceanport to name a few.
As Chefs Marcus Phillip and Timothy Voorhees led in the Pledge to the Flag in opening the hall to visitors, Rev. Richard Romero offered the opening prayer, thanking God for the food to be shared and for the coming together of the community in giving thanks.
The buffet table was filled with turkey, ham and traditional vegetables, as well as dessert treats for all visitors, young and older, church members and others seeking a good meal and good company.
The three dozen turkeys and donated turkey breasts and hams made up the basics of a holiday luncheon free of charge. Donations were gathered in advance of the day by St. Luke's members and from businesses in the community that added generously to fund the annual event. The Second Baptist Church's "Meals at Noon" program added to the support of the occasion.
In addition to meals served at the church, volunteers also carried more than 100 meals to the homes of families not able to come to the church.
Individual donors brought food and pastries from their homes to be enjoyed by all at the church and the homes. Other clergy, local officials and representatives came in support to help the community at this treasured time of year.
A familiar face at the dining room was pianist Miriam who played traditional musical pieces and popular songs for the crowd as they dined. It was a festive affair for all to enjoy.