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News Story
Updated: 01/10/2014 01:37:28PM

Giving thanks,

Sharing blessings

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SUN PHOTO BY GARY ROBERTS

Margie Hensley of Port Charlotte serves a table of hungry diners on Thanksgiving Day at the Life Center of First United Church in Punta Gorda.

SUN PHOTO BY GARY ROBERTS

With seating for more than 200, the Life Center of First United Church in Punta Gorda welcomed one and all to a Thanksgiving feast.

SUN PHOTO BY GARY ROBERTS

Serving up Thanksgiving dinner to Mark Hudson of Punta Gorda are volunteers Joe O’Connell, from left, Sherry Collins and Pat Stilp. This is the 14th year that First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda hosted the event.

SUN PHOTO BY GARY ROBERTS

Tina and Mark Corrie are among the homeless who shared a Thanksgiving meal at First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda, which also welcomed folks who live alone or wanted to spend time with friends. The church also delivered food to shut-ins.

SUN PHOTO BY CLINTON BURTON, cburton@sun-herald.com

James Gerard Ahern of Englewood shows his appreciation for the kindness shown to him by Dena Browning and others at the annual free Thanksgiving meal provided by St. David’s Episcopal Church at Indian Mound Park in Englewood. Once addicted to drugs and alcohol, Browning now serves as a peer mentor working to help others in need.

SUN PHOTO BY CLINTON BURTON, cburton@sun-herald.com

Larry Cowlin and Joanne Richardson were busy slicing and plating pies at the End Zone sports bar Thanksgiving while Lou Long gathered food for delivery.

SUN PHOTO BY SCOTT LOCKWOOD
Englewood resident Bob Ciszek feeds a spoonful of dressing to his 6-month-old granddaughter, Laura Cestro, at New Hope Community Church's Thanksgiving dinner Thursday afternoon in North Port.

SUN PHOTO BY SCOTT LOCKWOOD
Families, friends or anyone who needed a Thanksgiving dinner were welcome at New Hope Community Church Thursday. Here, from left, Gerry Schutta, Diane Miller, Corrina Santy, Ray Richardson and Jackie Beebe all enjoy their meals. Santy, Richardson and Beebe are all new to the area and were celebrating their first Thanksgiving dinner in North Port.

SUN PHOTO BY SCOTT LOCKWOOD
Volunteer Renee Remsen dishes out some dressing to North Port resident Andrea Mitchell during New Hope Church's community Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

SUN PHOTO BY SCOTT LOCKWOOOD
New Hope Church Thanksgiving dinner organizer Mike Saxton prepares to give away a 32-inch TV and several other items during a raffle Thursday. Anyone who ate a free meal was also given a ticket for a chance to win.

SUN PHOTO BY SCOTT LOCKWOOD
Volunteers, from left, Valerie Raney, Joyce Peterson and Renee Remsen take a quick break during Thursday's community Thanksgiving dinner at New Hope Church in North Port. Church officials expected to serve more than 800 dinners.

By GARY ROBERTS, SCOTT LOCKWOOD and CLINTON BURTON

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PUNTA GORDA — Like many families across the country, Mark and Tina Corrie are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, giving thanks for their recent good fortune. There is the part-time job that Tina just found, her new pair of shoes and the bicycles they just received. And there is something more.

“We are very thankful because every morning we get to breathe life,” Tina Corrie said. “And I thank God for that.”

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