City Mission ready to serve free meals

Published 12:28 am Sunday, November 24, 2013


Thanksgiving dinner  tradition in 70th-straight year


When the Rev. Jim Cremeans stepped down as pastor of City Mission Church in Ironton eight years ago after nearly 40 years, his son, Jeff, took the reins.

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Replacing his father as pastor, however, isn’t the only way Jeff has followed in father’s footsteps.

“The City Mission has the longest running free Thanksgiving dinner in the county,” Jeff said. “It has been done every Thanksgiving for nearly 70 years.”

Jeff said his dad remains a big part of the free dinner and he did it so long, it comes second-nature.

“This church has been my family’s life for as long as I can remember,” Jeff said. “It’s what we know and what we love.”

The City Mission served 948 meals last year, the most ever, and already has orders for 550 meals this Thanksgiving.

“When it comes to feeding people we don’t have a screening process or anything like that,” Jeff said. “If they say they don’t eat, we feed them. We want everyone to have a good meal on Thanksgiving. It’s rewarding to see people have a good meal who wouldn’t have one otherwise.”

Volunteers begin preparing the food this coming Wednesday. It’s no small task when considering a total of 37 turkeys, 100 pounds of dressing, 130 pounds of cabbage for coleslaw, 18 gallon-size boxes of potatoes, 73 gallons of green beans and 100 pumpkin pies have to be fixed by the next day.

“We are expecting at least the same number of people this year we had last year, if not more,” Jeff said. “We will still have people calling the day of requesting a meal.”

The meals will be served at the church starting at noon and local delivery is offered. Jeff said with delivery, preparation and serving the food the number of volunteers hovers near 80, and that’s with most people getting a to-go meal.

“We have a lot of people who just come and pick up a meal,” he said. “We also have a lot who come and eat at the church with friends and family.”

In 2012, a total of 5,852 local families — 8,054 adults and 7,921 children — were given assistance of some kind by the City Mission, along with 3,360 homeless people.