Plans announced for annual community dinner

Organizers of the Conway community Thanksgiving dinner will expand their efforts this year to include two satellite locations.

This is the third year for Centennial Bank to host the community dinner, which was started about 20 years ago by Catherin and Bob Blankenship. The meal will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, at First United Methodist Church at 1610 Prince St. in Conway.

“This event is a testament to our community’s commitment to provide for those who are not able to share this special holiday with friends and loved ones,” said Lori Case, senior vice president for marketing. “We have much to be thankful for at Centennial Bank and feel that is highly appropriate that we give back to the community that has given so much to us by organizing this meal of thanksgiving.”

In addition, Centennial is partnering with The City of Hope Outreach to offer a Thanksgiving banquet on Sunday, Nov. 20, at two satellite locations in Conway – at Brookside Trailer Park and the Oakwood Mobile Home Village on East Robins Street.

“We realized the need was much greater than what we’ve served,” Case said. “We were interested in doing more and heard about The City of Hope Outreach, which had been providing Thanksgiving meals for the last five years. We thought it would be good to combine our efforts and expand what we were doing.”

Nicolle Fletcher, founder and administrative coordinator for The City of Hope Outreach, is also pleased about the collaboration. “We are excited that Centennial Bank is partnering with The City of Hope Outreach to expand this banquet,” she said.

About 700 people were fed at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner at First Methodist, with 300 of those meals delivered. Organizers are making plans to serve 1,000 this year at the three meals.

A special committee – chaired by Case – has been meeting for several months to plan this year’s event.

“Everyone is welcome at this dinner, including those alone during the holiday and those in need,” she said. “We extend an invitation to the entire community to join us for a good meal and time of fellowship.”

Volunteers will be needed to help with all three meals.

A special phone number has been set up for those who would like to have a meal delivered to their home or would like to volunteer – 501.328.4859. The deadline to register is Friday, Nov. 18.

The dinner is co-sponsored by 501 LIFE magazine. Additional information about the dinner will be posted on the 501 LIFE website and the 501 Facebook page.