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Needy find fellowship, food at Rock Hill church

Connie Hubbard, left, and Tom Began, center, serve food during the annual Christmas meal at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rock Hill on Thursday. The meal was sponsored by St. Mary's and St. Anne Catholic churches.
Connie Hubbard, left, and Tom Began, center, serve food during the annual Christmas meal at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rock Hill on Thursday. The meal was sponsored by St. Mary's and St. Anne Catholic churches.

Sandra Outen faced loneliness Christmas Day.

No nearby family. No friends.

Facing isolation, the Rock Hill woman caught a ride to Bannon Hall at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

"I didn't have nowhere else to go," she said.

Outen was among 110 people who turned out Thursday for the annual Christmas dinner at the Crawford Road church near Clinton Junior College. Volunteers from area churches dished out 700 plates, including 450 meals that were delivered.

"We do this so the people who are alone at home can come here and have a meal with others and socialize," Brother David Boone of The Oratory said.

Outen didn't have transportation to visit her family, but on Thursday, she made new friends.

"I feel good," Outen said. "God lifted up my spirits."

Naomi Mabry and Deloris Anne Minton didn't have family or friends nearby either, so they walked to Bannon Hall for fellowship with their extended family -- a tradition, Mabry said.

"All of us are in the same predicament," Mabry said. "We don't have anybody to talk to. We come to socialize. It's a lot of fun."

Across the room, volunteer Connie Hubbard of York dished up a plate.

"You need it to go?" Hubbard asked one man.

"Yes," the man said.

"Merry Christmas," Hubbard said as she piled some ham and turkey on a plate.

Hubbard watched the man go before she spoke of America's sagging economy, marred by layoffs, cutbacks and pink slips.

"We all need to be reminded that we could be here," Hubbard said.

Fort Mill's William Stockdale and wife, Anita, turned out to volunteer with their children, Meagan Blake and Blake Wylie.

"A lot of people are less fortunate than I am," Blake Wylie said. "It's good to help others who don't have the things we have and sometimes take for granted."

William Stockdale, who celebrated his 40th birthday Thursday, said offering a helping hand should extend beyond Christmas.

"There are a lot of people in our community who need help," he said. "Why can't we reach out and extend hope to people every day of the year?"

Dana McCullough, a Rock Hill native who lives in Columbia, also volunteered.

"People need to know there are people out here who care," McCullough said. "You may not be able to give people something they can hold in their hands, but you can give them something they can hold in their hearts."

McCullough's teenage sons -- Thomas, Joshua and Alex -- helped deliver meals to the homebound.

"When we walked around, I noticed a lot of people were by themselves," Joshua said. "I felt like this (delivering meals) would help."

Delivering meals also was rewarding for Thomas.

"It gave me gratification," Thomas said. "It feels just right."

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