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Woman opens her heart, kitchen and home to help feed hungry in area during Thanksgiving

Rumpan Laubscher was on a 24-hour mission during Thanksgiving.

Her goal was to feed as many hungry people as she could during that time at what used to be known years ago as the Osborne Boarding House - and later Hannah House - at the intersection of First Avenue and Grady Street in Thomson.

"I feed many hungry people," said Mrs. Laubscher, a Thailand native, who has lived in America since October 1973 following the Vietnam war. "Many of these people were hungry. I want to do something to show them that somebody cared and that God loves them."

Mrs. Laubscher fed dozens of people, some of them entire families. Those who partook of the food and kindness find themselves either out of work due to layoffs or because they lack the money to buy enough food to keep from being hungry.

"I not know this many people have these problems in this community," said Mrs. Laubscher in the broken English that is one of three languages she speaks. "I just happy I get chance to bring smile to faces of those hungry."

She said God told her to do what she did.

"I had to help them in a way they could not help themselves," said Mrs. Laubscher. "It mean lot to me to help them."

She began feeding those hungry from the Thomson and Warrenton areas last Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve. Her efforts continued through Thursday afternoon, Thanksgiving Day.

The menu included everything from traditional foods to special dishes from her native country of Thailand in Southeast Asia. She even prepared specially baked pudding pies and other desserts.

After being on her feet cooking most of the day and not getting into bed until late Wednesday, she wasn't yet asleep before she heard knocks at her front door. She went downstairs and opened the door to a couple asking for food about 11 p.m.

"I did not turn them away," said Mrs. Laubscher, adding that she brought back out the food and served them.

Some three hours later, she was actually awakened by a couple seeking a meal. Again, she met their needs.

"These hard times for many people," said Mrs. Laubscher. "People walk around and are hungry. I try to help them - as many as can. As child of Christ, I do this."

Recently, Mrs. Laubscher, who is co-owner of a business in the Greene County city of Union Point, fed hungry people there, too.

"I do this, because it break my heart to see anybody hungry," she said.

Two of the first people to take advantage of the free meal were Billy Winfrey and Anita Hightower, both of Thomson.

"It means a lot that she would do this for us," said Mr. Winfrey, a longtime employee at Thomson Country Club.

"We have a lot to be thankful for and we are especially blessed to have people like her in our community," said Ms. Hightower.

Edward "Junior" Winfrey and his wife, Cathy, helped Mrs. Laubscher prepare the food.

"This is just breath-taking what she has done to help so many people in need," said Mrs. Winfrey, whose husband has done carpentry and painting work for their friend the past several years. "Having people like her in the world makes it a better place."

Bernedette Lowe, of Thomson, a CNA, who does part-time personal care nursing, admittedly is one of the local persons who has fallen on hard times of late.

"I came to get a free meal, because I was hungry," said Ms. Lowe, whose two children, Kadesiha Lowe, 14, and Cornelius Pinkston, 16, accompanied her to Mrs. Laubscher's home. "I came because I don't have enough money to buy the food that we need. I'm just being straight forward about it. There's no point in hiding it."

Ms. Lowe, like the other couple mentioned in the story, said, "I appreciate this food from the bottom of my heart."

Her daughter said, "I think it's great what she's doing."

Cornelius said, "It's great what she's doing, because a lot of people don't care if people are walking around and hungry. This woman has a real good heart."

Web posted on Thursday, December 04, 2008

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