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A warm meal does more than you think

Is anything more satisfying than a hot meal? When you are sick, a bowl of soup is medicine for the soul. When you have lost a loved one, a lasagna delivered by friends provides an unspeakable comfort. When you are cold and tired, a warm plate of food restores you like nothing else.

Food is so much more than calories.

Brookhaven Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan and the rest of First United Methodist Church understand this. It’s why they host the Doug Sullivan Community Thanksgiving lunch.

They provide what too many Lincoln Countians might miss next week: a hot meal.  Hundreds of free meals will be served at the church’s ministry center from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Just as many or more will be delivered with a smile and a prayer.

“We find a lot of people are willing to let us pray with them,” said Jennifer Calhoun, missions director at FUMC and the organizer of the Thanksgiving lunch for more than a decade. “Every year, we find some kind of need that needs to be taken care of.”

Meals are also delivered to prisoners at the jail, as well as to law enforcement and firefighters.

Though many of us choose to ignore them, Brookhaven has plenty of hungry people. Plenty of people who would go without a Thanksgiving meal without this effort. There are also plenty who will go without in order to provide for someone else. There are parents here who will ignore their own hunger so their children won’t have to.

The free meal at FUMC will help with that, but not just in the most obvious way. More than calories, people need to feel loved and cared for. They need to know that their life, their situation, their struggle matters to someone else.

That’s why chicken salad and mashed potatoes and casseroles mean so much after a funeral. It’s what makes the soup so good when we’re sick. It’s the reason some of our fondest memories of family and friends involve food.

The lunch at FUMC is a community-wide effort. Aside from church volunteers, students across the city and county collected food to donate. Students at the art school design placemats.

It is an opportunity for them to give back, to express their gratitude and to share more than just food. It’s a chance for them to share a little love.

Brookhaven and Lincoln County could use a little love right now. In a time when so much around us appears to be going wrong, a hot meal and a prayer may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Email publisher Luke Horton at luke.horton@dailyleader.com.