Local church finds way to provide Thanksgiving meals amid pandemic

25th year Joplin First United Methodist Church gives free Thanksgiving meals

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin First United Methodist church has been giving away free Thankgiving meals for more than two decades. They may be giving out the meals differently due to the pandemic, but the message remains the same.

Nineteen-year-old Laura Anderson has been volunteering with her church on Thankgiving every year since she could remember.

“I just felt like if we could give people a meal then…why not,” says Anderson.

Because of the pandemic Joplin First United Methodist Church was giving their free Thankgiving meals a little differently.

“Last year we got to set up a bunch of tables in this gym and people could come in and eat of they could take things to go. And they could just come and meet people who were also coming in to have a meal,” says Anderson. “This year, we have a drive-thru service and then we have people delivering meals as well and people could walk up and get meals.”

These free meals also provide people to stay connected especially in times of need.

“It’s just a blessing there is so many people out there that are home bound and stuff like that. It’s nice to be able to come here to be able to go out and give it to them,” says Joplin resident Steve Kent.

Anderson says there was no doubt, in the mist of a pandemic, that her church would find a way to serve the community.

“Means a lot to us that we’re able to reach out and get connected with the community and just most importantly spread the love of God,” adds Anderson. “Especially, this year, whenever people maybe feeling the craziness a little more than usual. They’re able to just feel something to be thankful for.”

This is the 25th year that Joplin First United Methodist church has been giving out Thanksgiving meals.