LAUREL HILL — Residents of this north county town know the winter holidays are here because the season regularly coincides with the annual community Harvest Supper. A record turnout, surpassing more than 150 of the town’s 560 residents, crowded Thursday into First Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall for this year’s event.
Extra tables were set up as more and more families arrived bearing hot covered dishes, salads, desserts and drinks. Plates ran out midway through the feast, but were quickly replaced. Long-time residents said they hadn’t seen the supper so well attended in recent memory.
“This is the most folks I’ve seen in a long time,” George “Woot” Campbell, a retired Crestview High School teacher, said. “I don’t know how long this supper’s been going on. It’s been going on since I moved here” 40 years ago.
Relative newcomers also embraced the community event.
“I’ve been coming here about two years,” Laurel Hill School student Bryce Wooten, 10, said. “It’s fun coming here to see all the people. I like everything about it.”
The Rev. Jonathan Shepard, pastor of event host Ebenezer Baptist Church, delivered the message, first noting, “I know we’re not all Baptist but we have appetites like Baptists. But before we take care of our physical appetites, let’s feed our spiritual hunger.”
Shepard expressed gratitude to see so many denominations represented at the feast and rubbing elbows with each other.
“By golly, we’re going to be in Heaven together so we might as well get along while we’re here,” he said.
Additionally, prayers were raised for Laurel Hill School student Mark Posey, 13, and Mickelly Goode, 8, who were seriously injured in a car crash that afternoon. Stori Henderson, 23, who drove the Jeep in which the children were passengers, turned in front of an oncoming truck around 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, according to news reports. The incident happened on State Road 85.
Attending, in addition to members of the host church, were representatives of First Baptist Church, Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, Magnolia Baptist Church, Campton Assembly of God, First Assembly of God and Auburn Pentecostal Church.
Along with casserole dishes filled with favorite family recipes, many attendees had Bibles tucked under their arms for the brief thanksgiving service that traditionally precedes the supper.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.