CHAPMANVILLE — Hundreds of people all across Logan County were treated to free Thanksgiving Day dinners by scores of volunteers.
The In Action Program offered free dinners at two locations this year, Chapmanville Middle School and No. 7 Holden Freewill Baptist Church. By 1 p.m., more than 700 dinners had either been served or delivered throughout the county.
“We’ve delivered from the county line at Lincoln County and parts of Harts Creek all the way to the county line at Man and to Accoville Hollow,” Jones said. “We’ve spread out all over the county.”
Jones said the free dinner program not only benefit those who are unable to prepare a dinner or are hungry, but also benefits the volunteers.
“It’s been an amazing time, not just for people receiving the food, but for the people in service,” Jones said. “It’s been a reality check. It really touches people’s heart.”
Some people not only received free dinners, but some were also given hats and gloves and a food box with non-perishable food items.
Jones said that many of the volunteers were strangers to each other, but in no time they become friends.
“By the time they leave they have a roomful of friends,” Jones said. “People are working hard, but they are laughing and talking. All you hear is joy sounds.”
Jones said many of the volunteers plan on coming back next year.
“People are saying they want to do this again next year,” Jones said. “It just keeps getting bigger. The more volunteers the more we have to serve.”
Jones said when the event began in 2009, 175 dinners were served.
“Here we are today pushing 1,000,” Jones said. “It’s heartwarming to know that we can provide the service, but it is heart wrenching to know that we had to provide the service.”
One family of volunteers who said they would like to return again next year to help is the Jones family from Ripley.
Kristi Jones said she wanted to find a place to serve on a holiday and did a facebook search. That search led her to the In Action Project in Chapmanville.
“Their logo popped up and I sent them a message asking if they still took volunteers,” Mrs. Jones said. “They sent a message and said ‘yes.’”
Accompanying Kristi to Chapmanville was her husband Roger and two daughters, Savannah and Cheyenne. The entire family said the experience had been rewarding.
“Very rewarding,” Mr. Jones said. Although new to the area, Mr. Jones delivered the free dinners along with serving those who stopped by the school to eat.
“I took some dinners to the Logan nursing home and to the 911 Center,” Mr. Jones said.
Daughter Savannah said this was the first time she had done any volunteer community service and plans on offering her time more often. Daughter Cheyenne said she enjoyed it, especially visiting all the people.
The Jones family said they plan on returning next year to help with the event.
Another volunteer who helped deliver items was State Senator Art Kirkendoll.
Kirkendoll said the free dinners he delivered weren’t always for the economically depressed.
“One elderly lady could hardly get to the door,” Kirkendoll said. “It makes you feel good to know that you took a dinner to someone who is going to eat. I was really afraid to leave her.”
Kirkendoll said people like him, those in public office, need to get out in the community.
“You can’t sit in an office and let people tell you about things,” Kirkendoll said. “You got to look at them yourself.”
Kirkendoll said the day was a good day to show friendship and fellowship.
“I think they are just looking out for the well-being of everybody,” Kirkendoll said. “It’s the right thing to do.”