On this Thanksgiving, church volunteers will feed others at Duke Children’s Hospital

Thanksgiving itself is not a religious holiday. But appreciating blessings and having gratitude for all that is given is often part of a spiritual journey.

Members of Grace Community Church will spend Thanksgiving delivering holiday meals to patients’ families and the staff at Duke Children’s Hospital. It’s a tradition that dates back at least 20 years.

Volunteers prepare home-cooked dishes that include turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and pie for dessert. They are delivered to the hospital for two different dinner seatings.

“We can serve up to 500 people on a given Thanksgiving,” said Lynne Lemmons, church volunteer. “We start with the Critical Care and Bone Marrow unit patients, if they are allowed, and their families, and then open it up for other floors and the doctors and staff who are working that day. We serve until the food runs out.”

It takes a small army of volunteers from Grace Community Church to donate and prepare food, deliver it to the hospital, serve it and clean up afterwards. But it is a labor of love for this congregation.

“Words cannot express how meaningful it is to serve on Thanksgiving Day.” Lemmons said. “Some of the families we serve do not even realize it is Thanksgiving Day. We listen to their stories and provide prayers if needed. We assist them with their plates and just offer a smile and encouraging words. We have spoken with families from all over the world who travel to Duke for medical care for their child. Some have been there for months and others just a few days. It is rewarding to give our time and appreciated by all.”

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

North Raleigh’s annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will take place Nov. 20 at St. Philip Lutheran Church.

This service brings together leaders and congregants from houses of worship in the North Raleigh area, including As Salaam Islamic Center, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Millbrook Baptist Church, Millbrook United Methodist Church, Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, St. Philip Lutheran Church and St. Raphael Catholic Church.

This service for the community begins at 7 p.m. St. Philip Lutheran is at 7304 Falls of Neuse Road.

Thanksgiving Meditation

In Raleigh, the Sagewood Center is offering a Thanksgiving Meditation event as part of its ongoing Expanding Your Spirit series. Holistic practitioners at the Center urge participants to slow down and meditate during the season of gratitude in advance of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

The program is Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at The Sagewood Center, 6801 Pleasant Pines Drive in Raleigh. Tickets are available through Eventbrite at

Carla Turchetti compiles events for Faith in Focus. You can reach her at