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Free meal for Thanksgiving offered to help those in need, says pastor

Annual tradition builds on event started by Barb and Dick Bushey

— The Rev. Al Johnson wants to make sure no one goes without a warm, home-cooked meal this Thanksgiving.

Johnson, who serves as pastor of Mooers United Methodist Church, wants to continue the efforts of Barb and Dick Bushey, who started offering a free Thanksgiving meal through St. Anne’s Church in Mooers Forks five years ago. The Busheys retired last year and this year, the effort has been moved to Mooers United Methodist Church, under the direction of Johnson and a band of ready-and-willing volunteers.

“My wife came up with the concept of each family making a meal since we have a small kitchen at church,” said Johnson. “We got a great response from St Anne's, St Joseph's, our church and the [Northeastern Clinton Central School] community.”

The annual free meal has traditionally served approximately 125 people, most of whom receive their food by home delivery, said Johnson. And, though the meal is geared toward helping the underprivileged and the elderly, it is open to anyone, he added.

“It can even be a well-off family that does not have time to cook; we will serve all to the best of our ability,” said Johnson.

The motivation behind Johnson and other volunteers — who come from several denominations — for serving the meal is their Christian faith, said the pastor.

“It feels awesome to be getting the support of the Roman Catholic and other churches and especially the school community,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he owes thanks to many, including the Busheys for instituting the idea for the event and his wife, Dee, for coming up with the idea of each family helping the event to prepare a meal saving “much preparation work.”

The meal will be offered at Mooers United Methodist Church, 14 East St., on Thanksgiving, next Thursday, Nov. 24, from 12 to 1 p.m. Those wishing to attend are asked to call 236-7129 or 236-5632 or e-mail mooersumc@yahoo.com in advance. Home delivery will be provided in the communities of Mooers and Mooers Forks.

Those interested in helping serve during the meal may show up at the church at 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

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