ROGERS (KFSM)- The First Baptist Church in Rogers had hundreds of volunteers prepping food for its annual Thanksgiving meal delivery. This year, 2,500 people ordered a dish of ham, potatoes and gravy, dressing, and desert.
Paul Olinger is a church member who helps coordinate the effort. He said he got the idea after seeing an organization do deliveries in Mcalester, Oklahoma.
"Thanksgiving was a pretty easy time to use the kitchen, to get people to volunteer and so we started that back in 1999 or 2000," Olinger said. "Our first year we had 300 meals and it's grown ever since."
A handful of volunteers showed up early in the morning to cook and later hundreds packaged and delivered the meals.
"We've got such a great team of people that come and do this and it really is just a great outreach ministry for our church," Olinger said. "We do a lot for the community, that's part of who we are at First Baptist Church in Rogers."
Richard Wynn is a retired firefighter and a paramedic in Madison County. He has volunteered for the past six years with his son. They built the smoker that was used to cook 800 pounds of ham for the Thanksgiving meal.
"We've traveled all over the country and done things like this," Wynn said. "It's a huge privilege to be able to feed everybody in Rogers that can't afford to get a dinner."
"It's a big deal for us," he said. "Every year we look forward to it."
As for Olinger, he said this effort wouldn't be possible with the help of all the volunteers.
"There are a lot of elderly people that don't have family to go to and so this meal is to help those that are shut in, the elderly or those that are in need that wouldn't normally have a Thanksgiving meal without this," Olinger said.
Any food left over will either be used for the church's Friday community meal or be donated to local groups who feed people in need.