OCEAN CITY – A well-known resort establishment this week opened its doors to feed those less fortunate in the community.
On Tuesday evening, more than 200 individuals filed into The Original Greene Turtle in Ocean City for a free, hot meal.
Dawn Hodge, the Greene Turtle’s marketing and office manager, said the dinner is part of the restaurant and bar’s 10th Annual “Feed Our Friends” event.
“We make a point of welcoming people and showing them that they are an important part of our community,” she said.
Since 2008, The Original Greene Turtle has closed its doors to the public for one night each December to invite the neediest in the community for a festive holiday dinner.
This year, The Original Greene Turtle partnered with Shepherd’s Crook Food Pantry, Diakonia, the Worcester County Health Department, Worcester G.O.L.D., the Samaritan Shelter and the Joseph House to locate and invite individuals.
“It’s amazing to see all the people in the community who need this,” Hodge said.
While many individuals arrived in personal cars, Hodge said others were transported in vans donated by the Greene Turtle.
Guests this year received a Thanksgiving-style dinner with turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans and desserts provided by Billy Fletcher of Tastykake and Joe Rinaudo. The Original Greene Turtle also partnered with Basil Hanlon of Ruth’s Chris to provide a self-serve carving station.
Children also had the opportunity to take pictures with Santa.
While last year’s event hosted a record-breaking 205 guests, co-organizer Jackie Lensch said she expects this year’s event to draw a larger crowd.
“This year we expect to have, if not the same, more,” she said.
Lensch, who works for the Worcester County Health Department, explained that she uses her work connections and relationships with the community to identify and invite individuals to the yearly event.
“I’m really just hoping that the community is able to feel a sense of togetherness and overall happiness and joy,” she said, “and just be able to come together and forget about the negatives and hardships some are facing and enjoy the moment.”