Parishioners at Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls pray before serving a free Thanksgiving meal at the church Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Divide and conquer is how Robyn Coleman’s Thanksgiving went Thursday.

Coleman got the children and her sister-in-law got to cook.

Coleman, of Mechanic Falls, brought her sons, Noah and Cooper, and nieces Taylor and Alivia Farrell to help serve a free Thanksgiving dinner to anyone who came to the Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls on Thursday.

Taylor and Alivia’s mother, Ashley, stayed home to cook a Thanksgiving meal for her extended family.

Cooper Coleman, 5, of Mechanic Falls serves bread at the free Thanksgiving dinner at Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls Church on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I think I got the better end of the deal,” Coleman said.

Coleman’s carload of children pulled their weight by passing out bread, and pouring cups of juice and iced tea.

They even washed dishes … sort of.

“Whatever they can do, they do,” Colleen Dehayes, who was in charge of dish-washing, said of the children who stepped up to the plate.

Dehayes said she watched her former church close its doors because of the lack of youth. Not this one, Dehayes said.

“We have a booming youth group,” Coleman said. The group has grown from just five children a couple of years ago to over 20 now.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Dehayes said.

Parishioners give their energetic Pastor Greg Morgan credit for the participation boost.

Morgan, however, handed the thanks to Sandy Reynolds, the woman who makes the Thanksgiving tradition happen at the small two-story church.

“She has such a big heart and she’s an amazing cook,” Coleman said of the Oxford woman.

No meals were served on Thanksgiving at the church until Reynolds arrived five years ago. She, her husband, Arthur, and Sarah Allen started the tradition.

Pastor Greg Morgan, left, Sandy Reynolds and Arthur Reynolds go over the list of people having Thanksgiving meals delivered to them from Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls on Thursday. Free dinners were also served at the church. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Church members served 10 people the first year, 50 the next, 75 the year after and 80 the next Thanksgiving.

“It’s getting easier and easier every year,” said Reynolds, who starts planning two months before.

Arthur Reynolds and Brian Robinson delivered meals to people who could not leave their home.

“It’s heartbreaking to see people alone on Thanksgiving,” Arthur Reynolds said.

Tina Cothran and her daughter, Jennifer, were grateful for the meal they received from church Thursday.

“It’s good for people with a small family,” she said. “It does not make sense to cook a big meal for just my daughter and I. It’s really nice of them to do this for people that feel alone.”

Before Cothran and her daughter had finished their dessert, Arthur Reynolds and Robinson returned from delivering meals.

“It’s very touching,” Robinson said of providing the free Thanksgiving meals. “I feel so good inside right now.”

Siblings Corey Schidzig of Portland and Mikaya Schidzig of South Paris are served a free Thanksgiving meal at the Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Pastor Greg Morgan of Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls fills the back seat of his truck with Thanksgiving meals to be delivered to homes Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Cooper Coleman, 5, of Mechanic Falls stands on a step stool to serve rolls to Penny Overton of New Gloucester at the free Thanksgiving dinner at Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Arthur Reynolds of Oxford, left, and Dana Lord of Mechanic Falls enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal at the Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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