Gulfport church hosts Thanksgiving dinner for military members away from family

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with family, but for many servicemembers, that’s not always possible.

Gateway United Methodist Church in Gulfport helped make sure those serving in South Mississippi had a hot Thanksgiving meal. Dozens of people filled the church to make a plate and enjoy conversation for the holiday.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to do so for them because of all that they do for us so we wanted to reach out and make sure that they felt welcomed and at home down here while they’re here,” said Daniel Taylor, Gateway United Methodist Church Pastor.

For Pastor Taylor, being new to an area is something he can attest to, given his occupation.

“I took over as pastor of the church in July so one thing I always wanted to do was be able to reach out, especially to the military communities,” said Taylor.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” -Matthew 5:9 We have the honor of serving...

Posted by Gateway United Methodist Church on Thursday, November 25, 2021

“Much appreciated. It gives them something to do, get out of the barracks for a little bit and feel appreciated for their service. A lot of single sailors and first-timers, first time away from home,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Asdru Arana.

Around 20 helpers volunteered their time, and the church also had outside help from donors. Santa Claus even made a surprise appearance to listen, taking photos with everyone and listening to the Christmas lists of people old and young.

“The Methodist church has always been about open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” said Taylor. “I want to make sure as pastor and, of course, our entire congregation wants to make sure that they know and everybody else for that.”

This is the first year of the event Gateway United Methodist Church has hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for military, but with such a great turnout this year, Pastor Taylor said he hopes to make it an annual function.

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