The Full Gospel Mission was just that on Thursday. The smell of collard greens, turkey, ham, yams and cornbread filled the sanctuary.
Some of the loudest prayers of thanks were for dinner after the morning church service.
“I was praying and keeping an eye on that kitchen at the same time,” said the Rev. James Hamp, the mission’s pastor. “It smells good in here!”
As the old saying goes … “God, Mary, Holy Ghost, eat the fastest so you can get the most.”
The mission, at 1912 E. First Ave., opened its doors to needy families and individuals from noon to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. About 50 people ate at the dinner, which was sponsored by Spokane’s Black Ministerial Alliance.
Opening doors for the poor during the holidays isn’t new to Hamp.
His father, the late Rev. Clifton E. Hamp, provided for everyone he could until his death this year on May 5.
“It’s about helping those who can’t help themselves,” Hamp said. “Through Dad, I’ve been doing this for at least 30 years.”
And there was undoubtedly more than 30 years cooking experience in the kitchen.
While the Rev. Ezra Kinlow of Holy Temple Church gave a passionate sermon before a multiracial audience of 75, Donna Glover, Carolyn Duke, Loretta Brown and Ella Dye set the kitchen on fire.
“This is that good, old-fashioned down-home cooking from the South,” Duke said. “There’s some cooking going on back here.”
There were five turkeys, two hams, collard greens, cornbread, stuffing, six sweet potato pies, pasta salad, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans, fried corn, yams, banana pudding, a lemon cake and one cake called a “sock-it-to-me” cake.
It’s labeled as such for its sweet but light taste.
“This food is good,” said a man who only identified himself as Lonnie. “This is the first time I’ve ever been here. We heard about some different places at the food bank and just decided to pick this one.
“Looks like we made the right choice,” he said.
The four women purchased food last weekend and started cooking as early as Sunday and Monday.
“You can’t do this overnight, honey,” Duke said. “You gotta put some work into it.”
Duke, who bragged that her Mississippi roots help give her food a little bit of spunk, said she has been helping to prepare dinner at the mission for 10 years.
“It’s for the community,” Duke said. “It’s also good for your soul when you get out and do things for folks.”
Earlier in the week the mission donated 260 20-pound turkeys, potatoes, bread and onions to those who wanted to prepare their own dinner at home, Hamp said.
“The Bible teaches us that rejoicing and giving thanks is also a time of giving to those who are deprived,” Kinlow said. “Celebration is wonderful, but it’s even more fulfilling when you give during that time.
“And not just once a day either,” he said. “We should give thanks and donate every day of the year.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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