Danville church promotes community healing through Thanksgiving outreach

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) On a morning when families gather to feed their own, members of Mount Sinai Glorious Church of God in Danville were camped in their parking lot serving food to strangers.

"We felt like it was time to move outside the walls of the church," said Arthur Linder, senior pastor of the church. "We feel there are so many people looking for support but they won't come to church, so we decided to take the church to them."

For two hours Thursday the congregation handed out turkey and all the trimmings to anyone and everyone who stopped by.

There was no charge.

"It's a holiday," remarked Danville resident, Anthony Payne. "Thank the Lord for people like this who give."

The giving didn't stop at the end of the buffet line. People like Lesley Williams were invited inside the church to pick out free clothing.

"It feels good because I know I need stuff and my kids do too," said Williams.

For folks like Everett Linder, every need that's served is answering a higher calling.

"I just feel that it's necessary, because there's a lot of things going on in the city of Danville," said Linder.

Last week Danville marked its 14 homicide of 2016, the most since the city started keeping track back in 1953. Linder isn't focused on that number. He sees something else happening in this community.

"I think this year has really been a turning point for us in this community," Linder said.

Moving forward the church believes it will take compassion to heal their community.

"The need is there, but you've got to reach out," Linder explained.

As Williams left the church with her free clothing, a member of the church wrapped her in a hug.

"Hang in there," said the church member. "It gets better, trust me."

A message of hope that's relevant no matter where you live.