By Carisa Biesecker
“This will give the residents of the community an opportunity to show how it is to truly have the ‘heart of a servant’ with empathy, humility and compassion in serving the less fortunate,” asserts Cynthia Pinckney, of Cynthia Pinckney Ministries, in regard to her charity’s upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.Unveiling on Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Thursday, November 26, the Thanksgiving Day Dinner will run from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. The Christmas Day Dinner will take place on Friday, December 25, from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Both dinners will be held on the premises of the Boys and Girls Club, located 213 N. Knights Ave. in Brandon. This year’s expectation of need is ranged to be in the form of more than a 1,000 people at each event, with 2008’s figures being some 750 for Thanksgiving and 450 for Christmas. A seven course meal will be delved out, while residents have the option to gather clothing, shoes, toiletries, socks, groceries and school supplies and get a haircut, massage and blood pressure test. Also on-site, there will be arts and crafts for children, outdoor fun houses, face painting, balloon expressions and much more.To continue its efforts, Pinckney is asking residents who would like to volunteer their time at either event to attend the organization’s last Certified Volunteer Training Class on Saturday, October 24, to file through the initiation process for the big days. Those who do not participate in the class are still able to volunteer, with positions to be presented post Monday, October 26, via her Website or by phone. “When I accepted the call on my life to minister, to feed and clothe the homeless, needy, hungry and displaced, providing Thanksgiving Dinner was one of the first things God placed on my heart to do for his people,” says Pinckney. “Planning and orchestrating this event is just a small matter, compared to seeing the joy on the face of others when given the opportunity to help ease the burdens of our other sisters and brothers who are less fortunate.”The twist this year, Pinckney puts it best herself: “Our goal was to make this inclusive not only for the homeless and needy, but for families and individuals who just want to experience fellowship with others.”This strengthened unity has been shown throughout the ministry’s life, but most recently during the Feed the Bay initiative, where at members of local churches and residents joined together to purchase nonperishable items to restock local charities’ shelves, the Cynthia Pinckney Ministries receiving an 18 wheel truckload of items stacked five caseloads high. In total, the charity has reached out to a staggering 8,000 residents since the organization came to fruition in 2003. “During these gatherings, alliances are formed that are life changing and give individuals an opportunity to communicate different ideas and often bring resolutions to some problems that are being faced,” concludes Pinckney.To aid in these resolutions, call 657-8770, 571 – 1556 or visit www.cynthiapinckneyministries.org. Click on “2009 Thanksgiving Dinner Information” to see what items are needed for donation for the impending dinner.