Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

IN SISSONVILLE, Its Turkey Day Community Center Hosts Pre- Thanksgiving Meal

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

IN SISSONVILLE, Its Turkey Day Community Center Hosts Pre- Thanksgiving Meal

Article excerpt

In a room full of cooks at the Sissonville Multipurpose Community Center, Jean Wilson is the queen. Equipped with aprons, knives and cutting boards, every woman in the room points to Wilson when asked who the best cook is.

"Everyone here is a good cook, Wilson said, deflecting the attention.

The women were gathered in the kitchen of the community center to begin the preparations for Saturday's pre-Thanksgiving meal, their annual fall fundraiser.

"It's a good fellowship for people in the community, Deena Taylor said. "They'll come in and they'll eat and they'll see people who they haven't seen in a long time, which is a good thing.

The fundraiser is a way to help with the daily expenses of hosting local activities. But Pat Taylor, who is in charge of fundraising for the community center, which is owned by Aldersgate Church, is hoping the $10 meal for adults and $5 meal for kids will help them pay the mortgage.

"Our challenge is the mortgage on the building, Taylor said. "It's sizable, and that's what we're having the dinner for, to help assist with that.

The building has long been a place of assistance. Almost as soon as it opened in 2012, it served the community after the derecho stormed through, then again, when the power went out from Hurricane Sandy, and then, when a gas pipeline broke and exploded, destroying several homes and melting part of nearby Interstate 77.

During those emergencies, all in 2012, the community center housed people, giving them a place to sleep, get a hot meal and shower.

After the community center first opened its doors during those crises, Kanawha County Emergency Services took over deciding when the community center should provide shelter. Taylor lives less than five minutes away and can open the doors as soon as he gets a call.

Taylor is giddy when showing off the building and gets even more excited when he can talk about how practical the space is.

"It's not hard to get excited because I've seen it when the space wasn't available, Taylor said.

The community center has been continuously preparing for crises. The inconspicuous padding that normally serves to protect kids from the walls while they play basketball, can be removed to become sleeping pads. …

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