DOBBINS HEIGHTS — The community came together for the holiday dinner Tuesday night and to give back to those in needs.
More than 200 residents of all ages filled the Dobbins Heights Community Center to share a meal of fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cornbread. At the end of the night, Trusting in Jesus Ministries held a gift giveaway, randomly drawing names out of a bag to win household items and clothing — even a grill — while two lucky children got a new bike.
All the leftover food was taken to New Life Church Men’s Shelter, and 40 plates were also sent to those in the community who are sick or elderly and were unable to come. Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue will also donate turkeys to the men’s shelter, depending on the need.
The dinner was supported by a collaboration between Trusting in Jesus Ministries, the town of Dobbins Heights and Enviva Biomass. Pastor Eric Trantham said his church got involved to celebrate community.
“We’re part of the community and it definitely brings people together in a joyful spirit,” he said.
Apostle Dr. Brenda Fairley-Ferebee with Trusting in Jesus Ministries said, in regard to the donations of extra food, “it’s important that somebody care.”
Rob McCulloch, public affairs and community relations manager with Enviva, said the company has supported events like this in other areas where it operates.
“It was a good reason to join together for the holidays and for fellowship,” McCulloch said.
The dinner was catered by Jordan’s Catering from West End.
Fairley-Ferebee led the attendees in renditions of “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Young children drew names from a bag to pick the winners of the gift giveaway. Mary Gibson, a Dobbins Heights resident, won the grill and danced all the way up to the front of the crowd to claim it — even though she said she’s never used one herself because her brothers were always the ones cooking.
“I never win nothing!” she said, adding that she had a “wonderful time” at the dinner and always tries to make it out for Dobbins Heights’ events.
“It’s about our community so whenever I can come out I come out,” Gibson said.
Dobbins Heights Town Council member Angeline David said “Christmas came early” for Gibson and that she was going to learn to use a grill for the first time.
“That’s a blessing for someone in Dobbins Heights to win,” David said.
Blue said the event Tuesday night “exceeded all expectation.” He estimated that the collaborative effort fed roughly 250 people, including those who had meals taken to them, and will feed even more with the leftovers.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.