"Two years ago, we started a small Thanksgiving dinner out of our church," said Ronnie Richardson, pastor of Freedom Worship Center. "So it kind of spread over the past two years and this third year it's just grown tremendously.
"So we reached out to our surrounding churches that are independent churches that we're friends of and we've all kind of joined forces together to meet the needs of the community. So there's about anywhere from nine to 12 individual, small churches that form CHURCH. It's basically giving thanks back to Bartow County."
Along with Freedom Worship Center, some of CHURCH's members include Creekside Fellowship, First Assembly of God, New Covenant, International House of Prayer, 2nd Genesis Ministries, All About Jesus Ministries and the Bartow Baptist Association.
To be held at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St., the free offering will occur from 5 to 8 p.m. The meal will consist of turkey, chicken, gravy, dressing, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls and a dessert.
Among the on-site services will be the distribution of clean coats and blankets, and health and beauty care kits; blood pressure checks; haircuts; and counseling. Referring to the event's growth, Richardson said they are expecting 3,000 people this year, a drastic increase from the first year's 150.
"Our church and Creekside Fellowship are teaming to head up the care packages," said Keith Wood, pastor of First Assembly of God in Cartersville. "We're going to try our best to find things like -- and we already have some of these -- toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouth wash, hand cream, things of that nature. There are a lot of folks that are hurting in our county right now with the economy, even with the school program of the [Backpack Buddies] that goes home on Friday to feed children because they just don't have any food to eat at home.
"So it's not just providing a meal. We need to provide some care for them in the area of hygiene as well. You try to minister or serve the total person, the whole person -- spirit, soul and body."
While attendees are not required to pre-register for the event, those needing free transportation must call 404-886-3224 by Nov. 18. For more information about the event or to make a financial contribution, contact Richardson at 770-596-1046.