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Pre-Thanksgiving Day efforts seek community support

Prior to Thanksgiving Day, Feed Bartow — formerly known as C.H.U.R.C.H — and New Frontier of Bartow County Inc.’s Feed the Community Dinner will provide a combined more than 5,000 individuals with a complimentary warm meal and on-site services. Initially formed to assist the less fortunate, the gatherings have evolved into fellowshipping events where diners connect with their neighbors.

Feed the Community Dinner
On Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the New Frontier’s 15th annual Feed the Community Dinner in Honor of Michael Dean expects to serve 2,000 diners at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St.

“The event started because we’d seen the need to reach out to the community and those who needed ... a place to come and fellowship with each other and enjoy a good meal,” New Frontier Secretary Trey Benham said. “One of the big misconceptions of the dinner is that you have to be homeless or you have to be in need in order to partake in the services. But a big part of it is just getting out and fellowshipping with your neighbor.”

The event, which is the largest outreach project of the New Frontier, was renamed in memory of one of the nonprofit’s former presidents, who passed away in 2011.

“We renamed it recently in honor of Michael Dean,” Benham said. “Michael Dean was a very important part of the New Frontier organization. He passed, unfortunately, a couple of years ago. He did a lot, especially when it came to the dinner and getting the funds for it. He understood the importance of it, so he just really worked so hard to make sure that this event continued on every year and that the funds were there. So we felt it was very appropriate to name it after him.”

In addition to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, the event also will feature complimentary haircuts, blood pressure checks, clothing, toys for children and books. To help meet the community’s needs through this event, New Frontier members are seeking financial contributions and volunteers. The organization also is encouraging the public to donate clothing, books and toys Monday and Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Summer Hill Complex, 129 Aubrey St. in Cartersville.

For more information about the Feed the Community Dinner or to volunteer, call William Solomon at 404-625-3880. To receive free transportation to the gathering, diners need to contact Bartow Transit at 770-387-5165. Financial donations also can be placed online at https://secure.processdonation.org/Thenewfrontierinc/Donation.aspx or mailed to New Frontier of Bartow County at P.O. Box 1891, Cartersville, GA 30120. Further information on the nonprofit, which was established in 1962, can be obtained by visiting http://www.thenewfrontierinc.org.

Feed Bartow
Also held at the Cartersville Civic Center, Feed Bartow will take place Nov. 25 from 2 to 7 p.m.

According to http://www.feedbartow.com/mobile, Feed Bartow “is an event that has been taking place in Bartow County for 6 years. The event planning is headed up by Freedom Worship Center in Cassville, GA, but churches from all over Bartow County and the surrounding areas join in to plan, fundraise, gather donations, and volunteer to serve. The event has grown from feeding 200 people our first year to over 2,000 people in 2014.

“Our mission is to reach out to all those in need in Bartow County. We want to see poverty [eradicated] in our community and every soul saved. Every year, we send out buses to provide transportation to the event. We provide everyone with a Thanksgiving dinner, a coat, a blanket, hygiene products, and a Bible. We also offer haircuts, health screenings, and prayer.”

Initially held at Freedom Worship Center, the pre-Thanksgiving outreach has grown over the years in scope. Anticipating at least 3,000 people this year, the Unity in Community-themed event is supported by 15 to 20 churches and other members of the community.

“This is not just a feed the hungry event,” said Ronnie Richardson, pastor of Freedom Worship Center. “This is a feed the community event. ... It started with the premise of offering a great Thanksgiving dinner, coats and blankets for anyone that wanted it, and a very small amount of health and beauty aids. ... We are still a group of Bartow County churches working together. It was founded at Freedom Worship Center and it’s still a Freedom Worship Center ministry. But it’s also united with all of our merchants, our politicians, our community leaders.

“So it’s an entire community event. The main reason we changed [the name of the event] from C.H.U.R.C.H to Feed Bartow is because we want for everybody in Bartow County to have a good place to have a Thanksgiving dinner as well as all the other things that are provided at this event.”

Prior to the upcoming community gathering, organizers are reaching out to the community for assistance, requesting volunteers, financial contributions and donations of health and beauty aids, coats and blankets. Richardson said the effort’s primary needs are donations of blankets, coats and shampoo, which can be delivered to any Advance Auto Parts in Cartersville.

For more information, visit http://www.feedbartow.com/mobile or call 770-596-1046.