Numerous members of 1C Church in Columbus donated quite a bit of time this week to help make Thursday’s Thanksgiving Community Banquet a success yet again.
The meal, which saw hundreds of people come through 1C for a hot plate of all the Thanksgiving classics, was made possible thanks to the efforts of the volunteers who served and/or delivered food Thanksgiving Day, as well as those who donated menu items.
Julie Anna Humlicek, 19, a barista at The Broken Mug, has been volunteering with 1C Church for several years and said that she was thrilled to be a part of the event once again.
“I like being able to help others and to give back to the community,” Humlicek said.
Her volunteering started when she was younger. She recalled she and her brother were acting greedy, so her parents decided to have them volunteer for the church and show them what it’s like for those who cannot afford to have things like a proper Thanksgiving dinner. To this day, she is more than happy to help out.
“They thought it was a great way to get out in the community and show us what others were experiencing,” Humlicek said.
The preparation going into the community feast was done days in advance. She said the volunteers had been working on it since the previous Saturday.
The meals themselves came with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, dinner rolls, pie and more. Fortunately, she noted, they only take a few minutes to prepare once the food is ready to go. Of course, good attitudes and collaboration among volunteers also help.
“Teamwork, patience and understanding that it’s going to work out are what gets us through this,” Humlicek said.
Greg Schatz, the director of discipleship for 1C Church, said that God is quite the inspiration for volunteering on Thanksgiving and this time of the year as a whole.
“It’s just the chance to share Christ’s love with others and be His hands and feet … It’s more meaningful (during the holidays) because we reflect on how thankful we are and how God has provided for us and what he has done for us, so a chance to share love and respond toward our thankfulness for this time of the year is a little more motivational,” Schatz said.
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This is something that Schatz and his family do for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, he, his wife and their two kids hopped in a van to go deliver meals to the less fortunate people who had previously asked about receiving a meal for Thanksgiving.
Randy Longacre, a volunteer cook for the event, decided to help out for the first time this year as he and his wife are new residents of Columbus.
“We came in Monday morning and just got started. We’ve been pretty much here all throughout the week,” Longacre said.
The meaning for why he decided to volunteer this year for the church’s Thanksgiving meal was not one that people would expect.
“It means a shift in my thinking about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving morning, for as long as I can remember, I’d wake up and get a good strong cup of coffee with some brandy and start my Christmas music. I knew coming out here that it was going to be different,” Longacre said.
Longacre had been looking to volunteer for the 1C church even when he was in the process of moving from Arizona to Columbus.
Since starting this week, Longacre’s job was to work with groups in the kitchen to prepare the turkeys, mashed potatoes, pies and assortment of other food that was going to be offered at the meal.
Longacre said at the end of the day, the impact of the dinner is going to last much longer for him.
“It’s going to be deeper. It’s been a very relational event and for someone that’s new to the community like me, meeting people and talking to the people, it’s been very good for me as a new member of Columbus," he said.
David Becker is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.