Holiday meal, worship set

TUPELO – Less than two weeks from Thanksgiving, Tupeloans swung into action Monday with plans for community worship and feeding the hungry.
On Carnation Street, Jennie Lynn Johnson and a handful of helpers made English pea casseroles for the Salvation Army’s big Thanksgiving meal. They stirred in 45 quarts of mushroom soup along with dozens of gallons of peas and cheese – and that’s just for starters.
Last year the Salvation Army fed 2,600 including shut-ins, prisoners and those who had to work on the holiday. This year, because of the recession, they expect to feed at least 3,000.
The organization spends nearly $5,000 each year on things like ingredients, disposable utensils and other necessaties for the meal. They’ve depended upon a local benefactor to donate the 100 turkeys they’ve needed, and they hope to receive them again this year.
“We really need financial support from the community,” said Johnson, who has helped make the casseroles for more than 40 years.
At nearby Calvary Baptist Church, members of the newly reconvened Greater Tupelo Ministerial Association started planning for the annual community Thanksgiving service.
The service will be Monday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Link Centre and the theme is “Giving thanks in tough times.”
This marks the third year that the Link Centre has hosted the event, and organizers hope the neutral venue will encourage people to come together across racial, denominational and even religious lines.
“This is a communitywide event and everyone is invited,” said the Rev. Ron Richardson, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo.
The service, which began in the 1970s, has also been hosted by area churches.
Last year the Multiracial Committee stepped in late to plan the service, but this year pastors are eager to work together once again.
“We really need a fellowship of those who pastor the city together,” said the Rev. Sam Shaw, pastor of Hope Church in Tupelo.
Contact Galen Holley at 678-1510 or galen.holley@djournal.com

Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal