The Searcy church known for its living nativity during Christmas season is ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way come Monday afternoon.

Melynda Marsh, the coordinator of community outreach for Searcy First Assembly of God at 101 Benton St., said last year that the church was able to give out boxes of food to families who were in need for Thanksgiving and this year they are ready to do it again.

“We give them the full meal,” Marsh said. “We give them corn, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, the yams, the turkey, rolls, we give it all to them. All they have to do is drive through and we put it in their car for them and then they are done with it.”

Marsh said all the food has been donated. “It’s first-come, first-serve. We start at 3:30 p.m. Monday. People tend to start lining up early in the morning. Once 3:30 hits, we’ll start handing them [the food boxes] out.”

Because of COVID-19, Marsh said this year has been a little different when it comes to getting volunteers for this event.

“With the virus and everything, we are having to cut that [the volunteer aspect] out,” she said. “So really, my family and myself have been the ones that have been packing the boxes and we have just a select few that are going to be able to pass them out this year.”

People will be in the parking lot helping to guide those in need in to get their Thanksgiving food boxes.

“Just come in the back entrance, closest to Sonic, and the cars will be lined up to get them led in,” Marsh said.

Last year, the church handed out 560 boxes. “My goal this year since the need is a little bit more is for us to pass out 600 boxes this year,” she said.

Marsh said the message the church wants to share this year is to “just be thankful for family and what you have. There are a lot of people who don’t have family members with them this year, so we want to pray for them and lift them up and just be grateful for what we have and what we love.”

One box of Thanksgiving food will be distributed per family while supplies last.

In another Thanksgiving event, the Community Action Program for Central Arkansas will be having a student pantry the three days before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-25. Community Services Coordinator Ashlee Dobbs said, “We will be giving out 65 food bags for kids that are in kindergarten through 12th grade. We will be giving out boxes for parents that include meat, hygiene for the kids and household products. We will start Monday at 8 a.m. and will give out bags until we give out all 65.”

CAPCA is located at 1132 Benton St.

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