Cooking hotdogs for the June community dinner. From left to right: Nic Cochran, Father Arthur Bufogle, RT Hill, John Neely, Doug Friel and Levi Hill.

Kasey Black
Lauren Bennett
Contributing Writers

Remember the days without cell phones, when people caught up on the news by talking to their neighbors? There’s a new opportunity in Marlinton to do just that – to share a meal and share conversation with friends and neighbors. A community dinner is held the last Thursday of every month at Marlinton Presbyterian Church on Main Street, and everyone is welcome.
The community dinners began in March 2019.

“It’s an idea that had been talked about for a while,” said Father Author Bufogle, of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, who has been involved in the planning and serving each month.

“We talked about doing something at the Episcopal Church when it closed. This time, everyone just started talking and it came together. It’s a free meal for everyone.”

Doug Friel was instrumental in getting it started.

“Really it was Lora Miller,” Friel said. “We were talking about it at school, and Lora said ‘Give me a date.’ We talked to Becky Campbell, who offered food for that first meal from the Family Resource Network. We needed a place to set everything up, and we decided to have the dinners at the (Presbyterian) Church. Since then, we’ve had involvement from the Catholic, Presbyterian, Naz arene, Methodist and Episcopal churches. I like to see everyone come out. And it’s free for everyone.”

Miller, who has been helping with the cooking each month, agreed. Miller is also a cook for Pocahontas County Schools.

“I enjoy getting to talk to all the people, especially the kids,” she said. “It was easy getting this started. It takes team work to get this done, and we had a lot of support from the community. If you look around, everyone’s smiling, and the number grows each month.”

The food comes from different sources and is prepared at the church. It has all been donated or purchased with donations. Meals have varied, from beans and cornbread and loaded baked potatoes to turkey tetrazzini and breakfast for dinner. One thing the meals have in common – they’re all good!

“The food is great!” Judy Sanders said. “And I like seeing everyone and talking to them. I like that people from different churches come. I think we should keep doing it.”

And that is the plan – to keep doing it each month. Dinners are held the last Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Marlinton Presbyterian Church. The next dinner will be August 29. On the menu: barbecue, macaroni salad, potato salad, baked beans, and ice cream cones and sundaes for dessert.

Everyone is invited.

Volunteers are always needed to help cook, serve and provide food.

A planning meeting is held on the Thursday, two weeks prior to the dinner, at 5 p.m. at the church.

Anyone interested in being a part of this is welcome to attend the meeting, call the church at 304-799-6145 or email Pastor Dave Lee at heyoka241@msn.com

“It’s about feeding those who are hungry – some are hungry for food and some are hungry for company,” Pastor Dave said.
“We welcome all!”

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