DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Amiya Griffin seemed to be the lone person not moving at a certain time Thursday afternoon inside the Dobbins Heights Community Center.
Through the hustle and bustle of the food prep area, Amiya, 11, was tasked with standing before the only stove in the facility and stirring the pot. It wasn’t a skilled task, but it did require an attention to detail and an ability to stay focused on the job at hand.
So what was in the pot?
“I don’t know,” she said. “I was just told to stir it.”
That’s pretty much how the day went for Amiyah and nearly two dozen other key volunteers and members of the Watkins-Kendall families. Questions were fired off rapidly and answered were fired back quickly in return. Somehow the right answer was paired with the right question every time.
“What do you need?”
Together, they helped to serve nearly 300 people in Dobbins Heights and across Richmond County on Thursday to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
The meal was to begin at 2 p.m. People came in by ones and twos as early as 1:30 p.m. The scheduled start time came and went; no Angeline David. Five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes later, still no Angeline David, whose words of welcome were to kick start the afternoon.
David showed shortly thereafter. She had a ready explanation.
“We were trying to get back by two o’clock,” she said to a few chuckles around the room. “I know in your hearts you love us and forgive us.”
David had been part of a team delivering takeout meals to those who were unable to make it to the center. Each time a meal was delivered, “they want to talk, too,” David said.
“You’ve got to give them a little bit of your time,” David said. “If you don’t, why go there?”
The message became more personal. David acknowledged family members, including her twin brother Daniel Kendall and his wife Pia, who traveled from Fort Washington, Md., to prepare and serve the meal.
“This is a wonderful and special Thanksgiving,” David said. “Love to the core. There was a time when we didn’t have things that everybody else had — but somebody came and helped us. So now it’s our time to give back.”
David and Kendall, along with Patricia Smith, Margaret Huey, Sandara Jamison and Wilma Huey were central to the efforts of coordinating the event. Food preparation was a week-long event, David said.
“All the food looks good,” David told an audience inching closer to the start of the food line. “I cooked some, and somebody cooked some and somebody else.”
Antonio Blue, mayor of Dobbins Heights, thanked each member of the Watkins-Kendall families who came to help. He helped acknowledge those lost in the past year. And he reminded the group what the season is for.
“It’s about giving thanks to God,” Blue said, and “what he’s brought you through the year. I’d like to thank (the family) for what they do. I think the people appreciate it.”
Thanks giving, Blue said, is “not about the commercialization or going out and buying gifts. It’s about giving thanks to the Lord.”