Several area churches are making preparations to provide hot Thanksgiving meals to those in need this season, and the number of people in the community who might need those meals is expected to increase this year, church volunteers said.

As they have for several years, State Street United Methodist Church and First Christian Church in Bowling Green will partner again this Thanksgiving to serve more meals than ever. The churches are making preparations to provide some 600 meals this year, an increase from the 500 or so meals that were served last year, said Susie Muzyka, church administrator.

The two churches take turns hosting and serving the meal. This year, it is State Street Methodist’s turn, Muzyka said. “The church has been doing this for as long as I’ve been here, at least six or seven years,” she said, “for as long as I can remember.”

The meal will be served between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

A free community lunch is also scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 175 Graham Ave. The church for the last six months has held a community meal for the public, but this month’s lunch will be a Thanksgiving meal, said church member Essie Simmons.

“With the economy and so many people without jobs, we saw a need in the community to provide this outreach ministry,” Simmons said.

Each month, the church feeds some 100 people.

“We want the community to know that the church is there to aid them if it is needed,” Simmons said.

First General Baptist Church at 311 W. 10th Ave. will hold its second “Feed the Community Thanksgiving Dinner” on Saturday.

Church clerk April Yurchisin said the small congregation fed about 70 people last year but that number is expected to grow this Thanksgiving.

“We got the word out this year so we are expecting 100 to 200 maybe this year,” Yurchisin said. “When we started doing the Thanksgiving meal last year it was our hope to give an opportunity for a meal to a lot of people in our neighborhood who may not have a hot meal. We hope to help this year, too, especially with the economy the way it is.”

The church will open its doors at 11 a.m. and feed people “until we run out of food,” Yurchisin said.

Impact International Ministries is also sponsoring an outreach this year for shut-ins or anyone in need in the Logan County area through Project Change: Meals of Thanksgiving. To refer someone to the service or to volunteer for cooking, preparing or delivering Thanksgiving meals, call 847-8278.

First Presbyterian Church in Russellville will hold its 12th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 26. For more information on that event, call 726-6207.

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