PARKERSBURG - Hundreds gathered Friday at the North Parkersburg Baptist Church Friendship Kitchen for the annual Easter Fellowship Luncheon.
Susie Meredith, pastoral care minister for the church, said the facility prepared for 250 participants, but hundreds already had arrived Friday morning prior to the meal's start.
"At Christmas we had more than 500 people attend," for the church's annual Christmas luncheon, she said.
Photo by Michael Erb
Hundreds gathered Friday at the Friendship Kitchen for North Parkersburg Baptist Church’s annual Easter Fellowship Luncheon.
Meredith said this year marks the 27th anniversary of the Easter meal. About 70 volunteers worked Friday to seat eaters, prepare and serve food and generally help wherever they could, she said.
An Easter Bunny spoke to children and distributed bags of treats.
Volunteers served turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and homemade cupcakes.
Jamie Witkosky oversees the kitchen and said she has been volunteering at the luncheon for more than 15 years.
"It is just a really special time to give back and help those who are less fortunate," she said. "It's also a great fellowship opportunity."
Jackie Purkey, house manager for the Horizons Group Home, said she has brought residents to the event for many years. The home serves adults with mental or developmental disabilities.
"It is a time of fellowship for them before they go home for the Easter holiday," she said. "It is a fantastic outreach. A lot of work going into it, and it is well-appreciated by the whole community.
"It is a blessing for the community, and especially is a blessing for those who volunteer."
Meredith's husband, Frank Meredith, said he has volunteered at numerous luncheons throughout the years.
"I just do what I'm told and try to stay out of trouble," he said.
The event each year is a lesson in faith and Christian responsibility, he said.
"It reflects our Christian beliefs," he said. "We want to give everyone the opportunity to have fellowship and the chance to have a good meal."