An annual feast the city of Harlem serves up to thank military personnel will go by a different name this year.
The fourth annual Feed-A-Soldier event, put on by Harlem United Methodist Church, the city and volunteers, was redubbed Military Thanksgiving.
The meal is scheduled for Tuesday at the church.
"We've got more than just soldiers coming this year," Harlem Mayor Scott Dean said, adding that this year soldiers, sailors and airmen serving at Fort Gordon are invited.
The meal is put together by volunteers from the church, the city and its staff as a way to provide a surrogate home environment for men and women who can't be with their families for Thanksgiving. It is a way to thank the service members for their service and sacrifice, Dean said.
"It is usually overwhelming; some of the comments are just gut-wrenching when they say thank you to us," Dean said of the reaction from the military personnel.
The meal includes turkey and other meat, dressing, side dishes, bread, drinks and an array of homemade desserts. "It is a small step that we can do for them and they are so appreciative."
The Rev. Roger Vest, of Harlem United Methodist Church, said he is expecting as many as 20 wounded service members from Augusta's Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers Uptown Division for the 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. meals.
"We're real excited about that. It makes it even more meaningful," he said, adding that it is a chance to thank military personnel who have been injured during their service.
The church's children's choir will serenade service members while they dine with at least two volunteers per table.
"... Just the one-on-one attention is what really makes it special," Vest said of the reaction from those enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.
Though the main dishes and paper products have been donated, Dean said donations of side items and desserts will be accepted for the meal. Volunteers are welcome. For more information, call Harlem United Methodist Church at (706) 556-6885.
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