The people of McCloud have been enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the First Baptist Church at 121 Water Street for more than 30 years.

This Thanksgiving the small congregation cooked 4 turkeys and 5 pies with all the fixings in preparation for feeding 40 to 60 people. The turkeys were donated by the Campbell Corporation. They had drivers to bring hot Thanksgiving meals to shut-ins as well.

Three generations of the Mero family have been helping feed McCloud, starting with weekly senior luncheons, then dinners, and now holiday meals for everyone, free of charge.

“We realized the growing need for family get-togethers for those who live in a single household and do not have family in the area," said Louie Mero while cooking over the commercial stove in the tiny Baptist Church kitchen.

“We identify ourselves as the home church so that is naturally an extension of our church ministry,” he said. “When you eat together there is a sharing that occurs. You take the time to talk and listen. We found that need for our community, our family. If there is any place that people feel warm and welcomed, it is the church.”

As people sit at the tables laughing, telling stories and catching up with each other during Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner, they are asked what they are thankful for.

Rimona Gale – “My family, my friends, my home and my cats.”

Judy Mole – “That I am now cancer free.”

Carol DeBon – “My dog, the church, my grandmother who recently died. I loved her.”

Catherine Stallings – “For the laughter and this gathering.”

Nathaniel Mero – “For this food.”

Louie Mero – “The opportunity to share the love of God in a real live meaningful way with my children.”

Deborah Henline – “Jesus died on the cross for our sins.”

Rosa Mero – “For my loving and caring husband.”

Anne Mero – “Being able to serve others.”

Michelle Prinz – “For my family and friends.”