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Women cook to feed the hungry

They got tired of talking and got cookin'.

Charlotte Derry and Dawn Powell, both members of Thomson First United Methodist Church, opened a soup kitchen at the church on Thursday.

"Dawn and I have been thinking and talking about it for a very long time. We just got tired of talking and wanted to do it," Mrs. Derry said.

Attendance wasn't as many as they'd hoped -- or cooked -- for, but they hope those who came will spread the word to others. Before the grand opening, the ladies delivered fliers to the Department of Family and Children's Services, Thomson's Housing Authority, Partners For Success, McDuffie County Health Department and the Senior Center.

Feeding the hungry is part of Mrs. Derry's nature. Her cooking talents have been appreciated by many in the Thomson area through her previous catering business and her current preparations of Wednesday night suppers at FUMC. Mrs. Derry said she was influenced by her father, William Swan, who helped start MANNA, Inc. in Thomson. MANNA pools the resources of local churches to provide food, clothing and assistance with utilities for the needy.

"I saw how he cared for people and I wanted to do the same," Mrs. Derry said.

Called "By His Hands," the soup kitchen is named after a traditional childhood prayer.

"That's the blessing I've said all my life," Mrs. Derry said. "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed..."

By His Hands is supported by donations from individuals and volunteers from First United Methodist Church. Mrs. Derry said they would like other churches and community organizations to join and help and make it a community-wide ministry.

Many church members greeted and assisted guests at Thursday's lunch. Some served, some cleaned, many even sat and ate with the guests and walked them to their cars.

"It's just so neat how everyone is helping," Mrs. Derry said.

The soup kitchen provides a free meal every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of May. It is located in the church's youth center across the street from Wally's gas station.

Web posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010

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