Family members, friends, even strangers.
Literally everyone has been invited to dinner today.
Marjie Sumner believes Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness, and she’s spreading that message via the internet.
It’s simple: Come have Thanksgiving dinner with us.
There’s been an outpouring of support since she first posted the invitation on the West Virginia Recipes Facebook page.
Hundreds of folks have praised her generosity and holiday spirit.
Many of them wished they were close enough to visit the rural Marion County community and join in the fun.
Turns out she has the recipe for reaching others.
And all of this just comes naturally.
She’s determined that no one be alone at this special time.
Anyone, and everyone, who’d like to share turkey and all the trimmings is welcome to join the family celebration.
That’s no small group.
“My husband and I have a family of seven ourselves. My parents and brother live nearby. So with extended family and friends there will be approximately 16-20 people there,” she said.
“We always extend an invitation to anyone who wants to join us at our get togethers.”
Giving to others, and generosity runs in the family.
It’s a tradition, holidays and otherwise.
“My late grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher. I know he would roll over in his grave if I did anything less as a member of his family.”
Plus I have been in the situation of having nothing, and I never want anyone else to feel the way I did. It is the right thing to pay it forward,” she said.
Everyone in the family pitches in and helps with food prep.
Today’s menu includes two turkeys, a ham and other dishes like stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, potato salad and deviled eggs.
Not to mention desserts.
Lots and lots of them, and all made by family members.
“My mom is making a homemade strawberry cheesecake, my oldest daughter made blue velvet cupcakes, my youngest daughter is making a sugar-free double chocolate cake.
I’m making banana pudding, a lava cake and my aunt is bringing pumpkin pies. My best friend is bringing chocolate cream pies. And my youngest son made chocolate chip cookies,” she said.
Depending on how many show up, it might be necessary to get more food.
But that’s not a problem.
“We’ll just go out and get whatever we need,” she said.
Being together is worth the effort.
It’s a “more the merrier” philosophy, and people appreciate the sentiment.
“When we had bad storms in 2012 we had a get together and invited anyone without power to join us if they wanted. We had about 30 people show up.”
Holidays can be “heartbreaking times” and she wants folks to know someone cares, even if they can’t be at the gathering.
It’s not a coincidence that depression and suicide rates seem to get higher around holidays, she said.
“And who knows? Maybe just extending an invite for someone to come join our family may keep them from doing exactly that. I just want to do what I know is right. It’s what God would want, to help out fellow humans, not hinder them.”
Sumner and her family began arriving at the Crossroads Community Center about 9 a.m.
Dinner is at 4 p.m.
The building is located off W.Va. Route 310, approximately three miles off Interstate 79 exit 137 (downtown Fairmont).
Go approximately three miles (heading toward Valley Falls and Grafton), and turn left on Grassy Run Road. Building is immediately on the right, along with a parking lot.