Jane Walker, kitchen hostess at the church, said approximately 60 to 70 people attended the luncheon, which was sponsored by Circuit Judge Jerry Selman and Jim ‘N Nick’s Barbecue. She said the idea for the luncheon was birthed by Val Richardson 10 years ago at First United Methodist.
“I think it’s going great. We had a good turnout,” Walker said about the lunch. “For Thanksgiving, it’s good. First, the devotional sharing the Spirit of God is the main goal here, and the people not going hungry.”
Several volunteers with the church and throughout the community donated their time to give back to those less fortunate. Employees from Jim ‘N Nick’s and Judge Selman’s office enjoyed serving food to people in the buffet-styled line; they also enjoyed being able to bring a smile to a few faces.
“We started close to 10 years ago. We’ve been doing this every year, for as long as I can remember, as long as I’ve been with the company,” said maitre d' Josh Swindle. “We always do things for the community and we always feel like if we give back to the community, that’s what puts us where we are. They’re the reason why we’re here, and we always want to help and give back and do whatever we can.”
Sam Ayala, general manager of Jim ‘N Nick’s Barbecue, added to Swindle’s comment saying, “I know personally that Jim ‘N Nick’s is part of the community, that’s a part of what we call the brand renewal, and this is what we do,” he said. “We used to be Jim ‘N Nick’s Southern Kitchen, now we’re a southern kitchen but by changing it to ‘Community,’ it’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. That’s why we’re so strong in Jasper, and I just feel like that’s where we are, who we are and what we are going to continue to be.
“It feels great; it feels really good,” Ayala continued.
“Everybody has hard times, to give back where it needs to be is great.”
Donna Perry and Rhonda Woods from Judge Selman’s office were pleased to offer their services at the luncheon. Even though Judge Selman could not attend the meal, the women said he was more than happy to be able to give back to the community.
“Judge Selman is very thoughtful,” said Perry. “We’re glad for the turnout.”
“We enjoy doing it,” added Woods. “It’s very important to have the people come out and that we’re able to help them.”
Also, the First United Methodist Church will be hosting its annual Christmas luncheon in December with a devotional starting at 11 a.m., followed with a meal and open to any who wish to attend.