Faith Based Center of Hope will host its annual Christmas dinner for the homeless on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Grace Senior Center in Wadesboro beginning at 11 a.m.
Each year Vancine Sturdivant, CEO, joins with various churches, businesses, organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens to provide a hot Christmas meal for those less fortunate.
Dr. Bernice Bennett, of Harris Chapel AME Zion Church, for the last two years has opened the doors of Grace Senior Center to host the dinner.
Sturdivant her late husband husband, William L. ‘Mr. Gumby’ Sturdivant Sr., started the dinner in the late ‘90s.
“One of the highlights of the dinner is everyone that attends leaves with a gift-wrapped present or two,” she said. “All during the year, I will purchase items of clothing, sweaters, socks, gloves, things for winter and wrap them.”
Sturdivant said that each box will have on the bottom what is in there. She also said that the day before the dinner, bows are put on each gift.
“If we do not have a gift wrapped, we have tables and clothes racks with new items hanging on there, they can pick out their size, and we wrap them at the dinner,” she said. “The look on their face is all the gratitude I need, and we all know how it feels to open something at Christmas.”
Sturdivant added that Pastor Michael McLeod, of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church gives each person an envelope with money and allows use of the church van and attorney Evadne Smith-Little will bring clothing and shoes.
“I remembered last year passing out the Christmas gifts, and telling them they had to wait until Christmas Day to open their gifts,” Sturdivant said. “I was on Salisbury Street the very next week passing out blankets and hygiene bags and here come one of my special friends with his present, a sweater, on.”
She said that the first thing he said was, “Mom, you caught me; I love them.”
Sturdivant said more vans are needed to help transport people to the dinner.
Anyone wishing to donate to the dinner, or give a monetary donation to help purchase winter items, should contact the Rev. Bernice Bennett at 704-694-6616, or Sturdivant at 704-848-4412.