Local churches, hospital create Thanksgiving dining for the Butler County needy

Thanksgiving day saw the annex of Middletown s Breiel Church of God transformed into a community dinning room for more than 300 needy residents who enjoyed a free meal and donated clothing. Bethany Tompkins, one of the church organizers said the holiday dinner program was in its sixth year.
Thanksgiving day saw the annex of Middletown s Breiel Church of God transformed into a community dinning room for more than 300 needy residents who enjoyed a free meal and donated clothing. Bethany Tompkins, one of the church organizers said the holiday dinner program was in its sixth year.

Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday saw more than 300 people find a version of family in the cafeteria of Middletown’s Breiel Church of God.

There were free turkey meals and tables of deserts. Nearby tables were piled high with donated clothing where anyone who needed it for themselves or children were welcomed.

It was the sixth year for the program that grows in popularity, participation and donations of food and clothing each Thanksgiving.

“We expect to serve between 300 to 500 meals today, including deliveries to shut-ins today,” said Bethany Tompkins, one of the organizers of the church dinner event.

“We wanted to do something for the community and for people who don’t have anybody or somewhere to go where they can have food and a sense of community..

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“People are loading up on clothes and taking them with them once they finish eating.”.

Among the holiday diners was Middletown resident Natalie Stevenson with her young son.

“I appreciate it a lot because a lot of people took time out to make food and get the donated clothes together. I’m just so grateful,” Stevenson said. “I enjoyed the food, desert and everything was so nice and I appreciate it because I couldn’t go see my family so this is like I met a new family.”

Across Butler County the scene was repeated as various churches and community organizations opened their doors and saw volunteers don cooking aprons and start the stirring, frying and heating of free Thanksgiving meals to be given to the needy.

Fort Hamilton Hospital in the county seat city had the unusual sight of a busy cafeteria during holiday afternoon. For the second year, the hospital’s cafeteria offered up free Thanksgiving dinners to staffers and family visiting patients.

Sharon Miller, cafeteria coordinator, said “it’s nice to give back to the community and back to the people who work for us and those visiting patients.”

Miller estimated the hospital food staff served more than 200 free holiday diners.

“Everyone is very appreciative of it,” she said.