For two local churches, Thanksgiving is not only a day to give thanks, but also a day to give back.
Sign of the Dove Church in Radcliff and St. James Catholic Church in Elizabethtown will be hosting their annual Thanksgiving meal events Thursday.
Known as the Terry G. Dill, Sr. Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Sign of the Dove’s event now is in its 24th year. The meal is open to the public and is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church at 1189 Sunset Drive in Radcliff.
Sign of the Dove Pastor Edward Palmer said the meal typically draws 100 to 150 attendees with 35 to 40 volunteers on hand. He said church members often receive help from local students, elected officials and Fort Knox soldiers for the event.
In addition to the dinner, Sign of the Dove also provides meals for local first responders each year for Thanksgiving.
Those planning on attending the dinner can expect turkey, ham, dressing, salad and a variety of desserts. Palmer said because of the transient nature of Fort Knox’s population, many live too far away from their family to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Palmer said many who don’t necessarily need a free meal come each year for the fellowship.
“It’s not what’s on the plate but what’s being given in the form of conversation, fellowship, hugs and smiles,” he said. “This is not a meal for a certain group of people, it’s a meal for all people in our community.”
St. James’ Thanksgiving meal program goes back more than three decades. The church hosts both a meal delivery program and a community dinner each Thanksgiving.
Volunteer coordinator Patti Stith said close to 200 volunteers take part in the program. She said St. James partners with other area churches and with Helping Hand of Hope to distribute food.
Food in the meals include turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and a slice of pie.
Stith said there were 855 people who requested meal deliveries as of Tuesday afternoon. The church also hosts a Thanksgiving meal open to the public at St. James Catholic Regional School at 401 Robinbrooke Boulevard in Elizabethtown. Stith said the meal takes place after all deliveries are completed, which typically is around 12:30 p.m.
“There are lots of people in our community who don’t have the opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner with family,” Stith said.