Health department shuts down dinner — what’s next?


To the editor:

Feb. 9 was supposed to be the 28th Wild Game Dinner at the Open Door Baptist Church of New Woodstock. Men and Women bring favorite wild game dishes to share with others of like mind and kindred spirit. The ladies of the church bake some 50 pies for dessert. This event draws 300 to 400 men, boys and some women. Many of us look forward to this dinner all year. It's an outreach of the church that draws some pretty rugged individuals and most, if not all, own guns. Not all who attend are Christians, but most who attend own guns and not just for hunting purposes. Some who attend have these guns to protect all the other God given rights and some graciously granted from man. They view guns as a defense to life, liberty and property. Some of that liberty was challenged that night.

After 27 other annual dinners, the Madison County Health Department decided to show up and shut the whole thing down. The lady from the department even said the food brought had to be removed from the church immediately including the pies. The explanation I overheard was that all these dishes were cooked at homes not knowing for sure if they were cooked according to health codes and therefore putting the public at risk since this event was advertised to the public to come partake in. Most people would classify this event as a church potluck dinner where no money was exchanged in order to eat but the county views this differently. If this event was just for the people who attend this church, and it wasn't advertised inviting the public, then apparently the dinner would have been fine. I would contend that there are those in the department that would even disagree with that.

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