Rural branch in Illinois shares the gospel during holidays

The holidays have been a good opportunity for the Havana Branch in the Peoria Illinois Stake to share the Gospel. Operation Thanksgiving was initiated by branch member Carol Schmidt and her sister ten years ago. Skills Sister Schmidt acquired as an officer in the Marines are put to good use. The project now serves more than eight hundred meals each year, in a town of three thousand six hundred. The entire area is invited and there is no charge. Individuals and businesses throughout the area donate food, services, and cash. Most branch members are among those who annually prepare food, set up chairs, clean, serve, and entertain. It is also a wonderful opportunity for full time missionaries to visibly contribute to the community while making contact with hundreds of local people. Last year, they were pictured serving food in a color photo on front page of the local newspaper. For a number of years, the elders quorum president, Hugh McHarry, as directed a choir composed of branch members and friends, while accompanying them on a World War II army pump organ. The twenty minute program is composed of Thanksgiving and patriotic hymns.

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