State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) announced the Harvest Feast will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17 at the New Shiloh Baptist Church, 1727 W. 15th Ave., in Gary.
Hundreds of Gary residents attend the annual dinner every year to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional holiday meal and to enjoy live gospel music performances.
“This will be our 26th year for the Harvest Feast,” said Dr. Smith. “We have seen families grow up. Those who were children in the early years are coming now with children of their own. These sisters and brothers, all beloved children of God, are a blessing.
“When you see the little ones with their eyes opened wide at the site of the bountiful food, especially the delicious desserts, and then hear their joyful laughter, like the sound of angels, it makes one realize all for which we must be thankful during this season of harvest. It is a harvest not only of food from the fields, but also of souls from the downhearted,” reflected Dr. Smith. “The spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood enriches the soul and gives hope to the heart.
“I also give thanks to the many volunteers who make the Harvest Feast possible,” added Dr. Smith. “They are a blessing to me and all those whom they serve. As the Harvest Feast grows in attendance, so, too, does our need for more volunteers and donations for food. The meal is incredible with all of the holiday trimmings. We also offer some of the most remarkable Gospel singers and musicians to be found in the Midwest. If you have nowhere to go for a holiday celebration or are in need of a nourishing meal with the genuine warmth of companionship, please join us for the Harvest Feast.”
Dr. Smith says senior citizens, those with no family in the area, and, indeed, all Gary community residents are welcome to attend the Harvest Feast as the community comes together to enjoy a good meal and to praise the Lord for His many great gifts, perhaps the greatest of which is the fellowship of one another.
The Harvest Feast starts with a church service followed by a complete, traditional Thanksgiving meal, featuring turkey, dressing, beef roast, macaroni and cheese, green beans, greens, mashed potatoes, and dessert. A variety of Gospel musical groups will perform as well. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Smith said he welcomes and would greatly appreciate help with the meal. In particular, he needs assistance with the set-up, preparation of food, serving of food, and cleanup. For more information, call Dr. Smith at 219-887-2046.
Dr. Smith organizes and hosts the event every year as a memorial to his mother, the Rev. Julia E. Smith, former pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and his aunt, Magnolia Allen.