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Free Thanksgiving dinners offered in Ocean City, Berlin

(Nov. 19, 2015) Celebrate Thanksgiving with a free meal and fellowship at two local churches.
For the 37th year, the Ocean City Baptist Church will be having its annual Thanksgiving dinner at the North Division Street parish.
Members of the church and community volunteers prepare and serve dinner which includes turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, string beans, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and cherry pie with whipped cream, coffee, tea, cider and rolls.
“It is a family event and we always tell people don’t be alone. It’s great fellowship and you always meet someone you never met before,” said Pastor Sean Davis.
About 150 volunteers will be on hand to help out during this year’s dinner and most live in the community.
“We love it,” Davis said. “Community members come in to eat and want to help out. It is great.”
Last year, the church provided 560 meals and organizers expect about the same number this year. Guests have the option of dining in, carrying food out or calling in advance for delivery. In 2014, 300 people came in to eat and 250 carried out.
Volunteers also deliver to the Ocean City Police Department, fire department, Ocean City Coast Guard station and to local businesses that are open on Thanksgiving.
The Baptist church in downtown Ocean City will offer its Thanksgiving dinner between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The festivities will take place at the church, located next to the 7-Eleven at 102 N. Division Street. For those who need their meals delivered to Ocean City or West Ocean City, call 410-289-4054 in advance.
“Many come who do not want to cook and sit with people who cannot afford a Thanksgiving dinner,” Davis said. “There are all different races, we put the football game on and we have fellowship together.”
Berlin’s First Baptist Church will offer Thanksgiving dinners for its 29th year on Williams Street.
“Our purpose is to reach out and share the love of Christ with people in the community,” said Sharon Parsons, church officer manager and a Thanksgiving volunteer since 2001. “Anyone who is alone. Get out and mingle with others while enjoying a hot meal. We are here if you need it.”
About 40 volunteers and the church family provide turkeys and side dishes. The traditional dinner includes dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce, she said.  
“The volunteers cook at their homes or come in to help with food preparation, serve our guests, set up tables and clean up at the end,” Parsons said. “It is rewarding.”
Last year, Berlin’s First Baptist Church provided 500 meals and organizers plan to serve about the same amount next week.
Guests can dine in, carry out or call in advance to have a meal delivered. Last year, carry out meals were the bulk of their calls and the church delivered about 100 meals to shut-ins and people working on Thanksgiving.
The church has already received 150 reservations.
Thanksgiving dinner will be offered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26 at the church, located at 613 Williams Street in Berlin.
Those who would like to attend should call 410-641-4306 in advance to reserve their seats or carryout meals. Leave a message after the recording and someone from the church will return the call.
In honor of its 100th birthday, the Atlantic United Methodist Church will host the Ocean City Christian Ministers Associations annual community Thanksgiving service on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. It is located on the corner of Fourth Street and Philadelphia Avenue.
Guests are asked to bring canned goods or nonperishable food items for the food pantry on Somerset Street. The service is sponsored by all area churches.
“[Donations] help get [us] through the winter and [help] the needy this time of year,” Davis said.
For more information, call 410-289-7430.