For the third straight year, Valley Faith United Methodist Church and San Jose Tongan Fellowship, both in Sunnyvale, have teamed up to provide a free Thanksgiving dinner for the community – complete with music, food, and fellowship. This year's dinner will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 23 from 3 to 9 p.m.
The churches make a practice of reaching out to groups in the community – the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) of Northern California, the Filipino Workers Organization for Caregivers, a local Alcoholics Anonymous group, and a nearby half-way house – and welcome and serve a meal to more than 100 college students, caregivers, homeless, and lonely individuals.
"The dinner has become a multi-cultural community event," explains Dante Simon, pastor of Valley Faith UMC. "Our young people from the churches perform the music and everyone pitches in to prepare the food and provide hospitality. One year we had three individuals from the half-way house attend, who then joined the church."
"Sometimes when you don't have family, it's a lonely time," adds Simon. "They either don't have family close or can't afford a Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving dinner is our way of sharing the blessings of our Lord. The church becomes their family in this important time of celebration. We want to be their home away from home on Thanksgiving."
"This is a good time for fellowship, community building, and introducing the Methodist Church to the community."
The community Thanksgiving Dinner will be served at the Valley Faith UMC, 1251 Sandia Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089. (Get directions from the Google Maps feature on the church's web page.)