Thanksgiving is just around the corner and volunteers at the Holy Trinity Church in Greenport is using this holiday season as a chance to give back.
The church will open its doors Wednesday morning for a free feast open to anyone in the community.
“This is my favorite holiday” said the Rev. Jimmy Smiley of Reel For God Outreach Ministries. “God saved my life, he gave me life, and that’s what Thanksgiving is about. It’s about making sacrifices to give love to somebody else. What better way than to give food?”
The Rev. Smiley hosted a community Thanksgiving meal last year and he expects this year’s event to be even larger, serving between 100 and 150 people. He said all are welcome, including homeless people, hospital workers and even those who just want a place where they can enjoy the holiday with others.
The church will begin accepting guests at 10 a.m. The event is scheduled to run until 3 p.m. so volunteers have time to return home to their families, though the Rev. Smiley said the doors will remain open until food runs out.
“We’re not going to turn anyone away,” he said. “As long as we’ve got food and people are coming, we’re going to express and show that love.”
Although his church is in Coram, the Rev. Smiley grew up in Greenport and wants to devote the holiday season to giving back to his first home. He has been soliciting donations from local businesses and recruiting volunteers to help with the community meal.
By last Thursday, he had received about $300 in monetary contributions and several commitments of food donations, including turkey from the 631 Diner and 12 hams from Sam’s Club.
“Whatever we get, that’s what we’re going to cook,” he said.
The Rev. Smiley said he is specifically focused on getting youth in Greenport to attend and stopped by the village’s schools to spread the word. He has about a dozen students signed up to volunteer.
“We want to show the youth how much we want to be a positive influence,” he said.
The event will be hosted at the Holy Trinity Church at 768 Main St. in Greenport. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can contact Rev. Smiley at (631) 764-1805.