He wasn't going to let a cancer diagnosis stop him from helping others have a Thanksgiving meal.
When Dwayne Hodges organized the collection and delivery of 25 already-made turkeys and sides to people in his Pinewood Road community who otherwise wouldn't have a way to celebrate the holiday, he knew they were more in need than what his stage 1 acute leukemia was putting on him.
Hodges used to feed the homeless with his mother, and he said using his role as event coordinator at Community Church - on Pinewood before it goes through Manchester State Forest - to reach out to people in need reminds him of "where I came from" and of the people who helped his mother when his family "had nothing."
"We've only been here about 15 months," he said of the 35-member church. "We just wanted to do something for the community. There's nothing here."
The building was a bar called Sandy's Place some 30 years ago, and it has been a barbecue restaurant, too, but on the day before Thanksgiving this week it was a meeting location where people picked up a few of the food boxes and delivered them to houses.
Hodges said many of the recipients are single parents or elderly.
He delivered a box to a man dying of cancer, he said, which reminded him that he still wants to help people even though he is also sick.
The 25 boxes that came from the IGA on Pinewood Road were purchased with donations the church's members accumulated over about three months by putting a few dollars in at a time.
Helping people and families in need is not just a holiday occasion at Community Church.
"We don't charge if someone needs a place to have a funeral, wedding," Hodges said. "We're open to anyone. I'm not here to judge anyone by no means."
Robert Hall Sr., associate pastor, said he joined about two months ago.
"It's a diverse group of people here. There's different types of people from different churches some people want a large church, some want a small one like here," he said.
He said before Community Church opened its doors, Enon Missionary Baptist Church was the closest to the community - a little more than a mile north."We all come from different walks, just like America," Hall Sr. said.
He said he likes Community Church over other churches because of how focused the members are on giving back, whether it is to each other or to strangers.
"You can always use another place to be friendly around people," he said.
Carrying out missions and good deeds from the Bible is a priority in his beliefs and with the other members, he said.
"We try to keep both feet on the ground," he said, "while our hearts go out to other people."