Faith Community Christian Church's Annual Thanksgiving feast:
Everyone has a family

By Jonathan Gramling

    As most of Madison was waking slowly on the morning of Thanksgiving, November 27, members of Faith Community Christian Church gathered at St. Mark’s
Church on Spruce St. to complete the preparation of a Thanksgiving dinner that rivaled none. The basement kitchen was filled with the sounds of church
members and members of the Delta Academy — a mentoring program of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority — dishing up around 127 dinners of turkey, stuffing,
mashed potatoes, beans, cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie that would be delivered to the elderly and shut-ins throughout the South Madison area. Many
more dinners would eventually be served to individuals and families who stopped by to share dinner and the company.
    Each Thanksgiving, Faith Community Christian Church becomes a family for those in need. And it is family that has built up around the Thanksgiving dinner.
Young children have grown up to be young adults who now lend a helping hand to make sure the dinners get served.
    “We’ve been doing it here for eight years,” said Rev. David Smith, pastor of Faith Community Christian Church. “Melva Bishop and Ed Manuel started it in
1987-1988 for seniors. It originally started as a Thanksgiving meal for seniors. I don’t think we’ve missed one year, so it’s been 21 years. I took it over 1993 at the
center, so this is my 15th year organizing it. When I left the Boys & Girls Club, I brought it to Faith Community Christian Church. It kind of happened on accident
bringing it to the church. They were in the process of remodeling and adding onto the Boys & Girls Club so we couldn’t have it there. So we had it at my church
and it stayed with us.”
    The church is able to provide the turkey dinners through the support of the larger community. “State Farm is our major contributor,” Smith observed. “Larry
Sain donates money so that we can buy stuff like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and green beans. The member churches of the African American Council of
Churches donate the turkeys. It’s really nice. Velice Payton made some pies. Velma Brazzel made some. And some of my members made pies.” And there are
community volunteers who deliver all of those dinners.
    As 1 p.m. nears, the time when members of this “family” disperse and join their other families for Thanksgiving dinner, people straggle in who have no other
family to turn to in order to enjoy a good Thanksgiving meal. Smiles abound. This “family” has grown in the past year, up some 32 deliveries from two years ago.
But no matter how many come, the family of Faith Community Christian Church is always there to welcome them and to serve up one delicious meal.
Members of the Delta Academy and Faith Community
Christian Church prepare Thanksgiving dinners that
will be delivered to the elderly.
Rev. David Smith (center)