Open Hearts Community Outreach sponsored their 10th annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted at Ernie’s Diner in Loris on Thursday. With 34 volunteers preparing turkey and the fixin’s working from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, doors opened to guests to dine with family, friends and strangers sitting together giving thanks. The Reicherts stated, “We are thankful for this year’s dinner where they, along with Ernie, wanted guests to feel welcome and special, humbly serving the community with a time to gather, eat and share with friends old and new.”
Tom Reichert is the director and Carol Reichert is the outreach coordinator for the OHCO program. They received help from members of the area churches and their youth groups preparing for the big day. “There were food and cash donations from around Loris which helped us preparing this meal,” says Carol, “two medical offices made donations that helped families have groceries to have a dinner at their homes with family.”
“We received a bigger crowd than we have had since we began serving Thanksgiving dinner open to the community,” said Carol, “a little over 325 meals were provided, eating in, and deliveries were made to shut-ins and area businesses that were open Thanksgiving Day.” There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, macaroni and cheese and a variety of desserts with coffee and tea served. With the community’s help, from churches to individuals, and especially the youth giving their time on Thanksgiving Day, this was surely the good crowd to serve. Carol added, “Rides were offered to people who were not able to come on their own, people came so that they would not be alone on a holiday. Everyone was greeted at the door and seated and given the opportunity to make new friends.” Many stories were shared from happy to sad to surviving diversity; laughter filled the room as the guests ate. As guests departed, there were hugs and handshakes and wishes for Thanksgiving to all.
“All praise and glory to God to make this possible, said Tom. The outreach program is a way of bringing the community together to fulfill the needs of those who want to gather together to receive a Thanksgiving dinner with friends, family and a few strangers who will meet and become friends.” The Reicherts state this is a program for giving, no one person receives credit for the gifts they give throughout the year, the volunteers, the donations and the gift of kindness. They said that three years ago they were contacted by Pastor Tommy Shelly to team up for the Thanksgiving dinner. They continue to be a huge part in helping to make the annual dinner a success. Reichert said the church has a turkey frying and deboning party the day before Thanksgiving. The ladies at Crossways Church provide homemade stuffing. A couple of churches and Bible studies provide the desserts. The Loris First Presbyterian Church youth group helped to set up the tables with placemats, flatware and decorations the night before the dinner. The Reicherts express their gratitude to all who volunteer to make Thanksgiving dinner successful each year, they also thank Ross for providing his restaurant, staff and kitchen for the past four years.
OHCO is thankful for those volunteers, for Ernie Ross as he opens his restaurant to host the Thanksgiving community dinner, the churches and youth groups for their hard work, the donations of cash and food provided to make this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner a success. The Reicherts through OHCO are helping Stella with God’s Gift to spread the word that Christmas for 13-18 year olds is their goal this year requesting gently used items, board games, cards, gloves, hats and scarf’s to help the youth. Carol said, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works, Hebrews 10:24.” Contact 843-361-5986 for more information.