Feast a chance to socialize, dine
Anyone who took a look around the John Marshall Room of Marshall's student center on Sunday afternoon could see that the university's annual Soul Food Feast is one popular community event.
It's not a fundraiser. It doesn't honor any particular person or occasion. It's just a chance to get together with friends and family and have a terrific meal. That's enough to cram an upstairs dining room of the Memorial Student Center full of cheerful friends and neighbors year after year.
"I think it's obvious why we do it," said Maurice Cooley, director of the Center for African American Students, who was hobbling around on crutches this year but still greeting friends and guests.
Good food and fellowship are a magnet for people of all walks of life, from babies to high-schoolers and Marshall students to senior citizens, he said.
"We enjoy the company of one another over traditional African-American food," Cooley said. "It brings people together. Everyone is in a good mood and excited to be here with everyone else."
The soulful buffet included chitterlings -- tastiest, in Cooley's opinion, with just the right balance of hot sauce, vinegar and pepper -- as well as crispy fried chicken, barbecue ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, potato salad and desserts.
Marshall students Devaughn Cooper and Daniels Pinckney both admitted it was the food that was the main attraction for them, though Pinckney said he's also trying to get more involved on campus and he thought a Soul Food Feast was a good way to start.
Christina Caul-Jackson was there with her husband, the Rev. Donte Jackson, who gave the invocation, and their daughter, Olivia. It's an annual event for them.
"I enjoy it because there are some people I see here that I'm not going to see again until (next year)," she said.
Another clergyman, the Rev. Douglas C. Carter, pastor at First Baptist Church in Burlington, Ohio, attended with his wife, Barbara.
"We've been here before, and we think it's wonderful to eat the dishes we were brought up on," Barbara Carter said. "The collard greens are wonderful. I'm a connoisseur of those, and these are fresh. ...The food is great, the fellowship is even greater, and God is good."
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