Community gatherings abound this week, Thanksgiving Day

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be shared with family and friends, and starting this Friday, a variety of community meals throughout Beaufort County will bring people together. From potlucks to full meals, there are plenty of options for people looking to enjoy a holiday get together.

This Friday, two events, one in Washington and the other in Belhaven, will offer a holiday meal for local residents. On Friday morning, the Belhaven and Pantego communities will join in fellowship at the Belhaven Civic Center for a community breakfast, sponsored by the Mt. Gilead Church Food Pantry. The breakfast kicks off at 9 a.m.

Friday evening, community members are also invited to join in the Harbor District Market’s inaugural Friendsgiving event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Those who come out are asked to bring a dish for a potluck-style supper. While there is no cost to attend, the Washington Harbor District Alliance will be accepting donations to help support Beaufort County Bright Futures’ mission of providing Christmas meals for local families in need. The night will also feature live music from local musicians Nannette Garrett and Laura Davis.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to sit down and enjoy the year and one another,” WHDA Executive Director Meg Howdy said. “We recognize there are hard times, but we also want to give thanks for what we do have. One of the biggest things we have is each other, and our community is just so very special.”

On Thanksgiving Day, there are several of meals scheduled throughout the county, including two in Washington, one in Belhaven and one in Chocowinity.

On the Washington waterfront, one soon-to-be-open restaurant, Captain Cooks, is starting what business owner Todd Rodzen hopes will become a holiday tradition. At 1 Harding Square, the building that once housed On The Waterfront, Captain Cooks will host a free community dinner from noon until 3 p.m. Donations of Thanksgiving dishes for the meal are welcome, and would-be attendees can contact Rodzen at 252-495-0050 for more details.

Rodzen, who first came to Washington as a transient boater, says he has seen similar gatherings in waterfront communities up and down the East Coast during his travels. He says many local individuals, businesses and nonprofits have donated to the meal, including Eagle’s Wings Food Pantry, Harvest Church and Carryout by Chrislyn.

“Other communities along the Intracostal Waterway often do have community Thanksgiving dinners,” Rodzen said. “I know some locations are doing it, but not a free community Thanksgiving dinner on the waterfront.”

Meanwhile, from noon to 5 p.m., the family of Terri Michelle Gracy-Udoh, will host its second-annual Thanksgiving dinner in her memory at the Temple of Jesus Christ Church Fellowhip Hall at 906 W. Eighth St., Washington. The meal is free, but reservations are required to make sure there is enough food for guests. Call 252-833-0995 to reserve a place at the table or for more info.

“The meal is for anyone who would like to come,” wrote meal organizer Leesa Jones. “Meals will be delivered to those who are sick and/or homebound. We encourage those who would be home alone Thanksgiving Day to come out and join in the blessings of food, fellowship and fun.”

For the Chocowinity community, one local group of youth will put service into action on Thanksgiving Day. The Chocowinity Middle School Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in conjunction with First Baptist Church of Chocowinity, is hosting a meal at the Chocowinity Fire Department from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. According to a social media page promoting the event, the youth are hosting the meal because they believe no one in the community should go hungry or be without a hot meal. To reserve a spot, visit, or text/call 252-402-2949.

Last, but not least, Belhaven Missionary Baptist Church will host its annual Thanksgiving meal from 11:30 a.m. until food runs out at the church. Event organizers are hoping to feed 200-plus people. The church is located at 251 Edward St., Belhaven. No reservations are required.

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