Some volunteers arrive in the wee hours of the morning with repeat staffers expertly working the carving table, a position of honor. “This is a community dinner, not a soup kitchen,” says Rev. Wilson. “We start the day with a worship service at 9:30 a.m., and begin serving food at around 10 a.m.”
The Allen Temple Baptist Church will serve dinner to their surrounding East Oakland community on site at 8501 International Blvd. After thirty years of continuous, dedicated voluntarism from the congregation, a warm and friendly holiday meal will be served to families in need.
Rev. Pamela Wilson, head of Congregational Life at Allen Temple, with oversight of 18 ministries, has been a Thanksgiving volunteer for as long as she can remember. She has risen from her years as a volunteer to become the chairperson of this year’s Thanksgiving program.
Rev. Wilson said,” We also deliver meals in the Oakland area by prior arrangement. We are particularly committed to senior centers and we especially welcome individual seniors who might be without family during the holidays.”
Along with a worship service, hot meals are served on-site, delivered or taken out. For the meals served in the dining room games and play activities for all ages are available for a true family-gathering feeling.
“We now ask folk to R.S.V.P. by calling 510-544-8910, for deliveries so we adequately plan on how much food to cook,” says Rev. Wilson, “and we welcome everyone. Our homeless community members are invited to enjoy dinner here, and perhaps pick up a take-out meal for later in the day.”