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The newly formed Love Thy Neighbor group held its first community soup kitchen Dec. 16.
Girl Scouts, Brownies and local businesses donated food to be given to families.
By CATHY DYSON
Love Thy Neighbor, a newly formed King George County group devoted to helping others, held its first successful monthly soup kitchen and is gearing up for the next one.
Led by Karen Jones, the group served its first hot meal to others on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the King George Citizens Center.
Volunteers offered various types of hot soup to more than 100 families, then delivered soup and groceries to another 30 families who were sick or unable to get there.
More than 100 volunteers showed up to help with the event, and other groups and businesses helped make the dinner possible, Jones said.
Girl Scouts collected coats, a Brownie troop rounded up juice boxes and Goldfish crackers for kids, and a dozen local businesses donated food.
And the participating businesses "want to continue with an ongoing food drive," Jones said.
Three other groups made hats and scarves to give away with the coats, and a group of teens from Mechanicsville helped with parking.
Others provided haircuts and blood-pressure checks.
"There is a wonderful network of people helping people in King George," Jones said, adding the effort "is a ministry the whole family can do together."
She saw a grandmother and grandson make goodie bags for children as another mother and daughter registered those attending the event.
The next meal is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, at the King George Citizens Center, which is off State Route 3 and across from the Food Lion shopping center.
Love Thy Neighbor will have a free bag of groceries for each family, Jones said.
"If anyone wants to help, our greatest need is for food," she said. "We would like to be able to help 200 families on Jan. 13."
The soup kitchen is open to anyone, not just King George residents.
Some of the women involved in the new group have met weekly for prayer meetings for more than 26 years. They've also quietly helped single mothers and elderly residents, along with those who needed clothing, food or furniture.
Organizers recently decided to "amp up" their efforts and formed Love Thy Neighbor to coordinate the monthly soup kitchen.
The King George Board of Supervisors is letting the group use the citizens center free of rent.
More information is available at 540/645-7331 or by emailing
Donations can be sent to Love Thy Neighbor, Box 39, Sealston, Va. 22547.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425