By GWEN SISSON
It all began 26 years ago as a way to reach out to lonely international students.
Since Thanksgiving is traditionally an American holiday, Dr. Armando and Ruth de la Cruz, partnered with First United Methodist Church to give Mississippi State Universityâ€™s international students a truly American experience.
The 26th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for International Students will be held today, with the welcome and fellowship beginning at 11:30 a.m. and food served at noon at the Family Life Center of Starkvilleâ€™s First United Methodist Church. International students and their families are invited to experience a Southern Thanksgiving Dinner, with entertainment from around the world. Various groups, such as the Little Swans Dancers and others will entertain the diners as part of todayâ€™s event.
This event is sponsored annually by FUMC Missions Committee and World Neighbors Association. Â
Sandra Woolfolk, one of the organizers for this yearâ€™s event, said so many international students have no family here, and some have no vehicles to get around town.
â€śIt can be lonely and this is a chance for the international community to get together and experience Thanksgiving as an American tradition,â€ť Woolfolk said.
Donna Kelly with First United Methodist Church has been volunteering with the Thanksgiving Dinner for International Students throughout the 26 years and said it is a worthwhile project for the international community.
â€śThe dinner shows them what we experience each year at Thanksgiving,â€ť Kelly said. â€śAnd there is a need for it. We reach over 200 people each year.â€ť
For more information, call the FUMC office at 323-5722.