There will be a new location for the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner this year.
Last year, the meal was moved from it traditional home of First Presbyterian Church on Sixth Street to the Sportsman Club. The change was a successful one, and the event organizers planned to hold it there again this year - but it wasn’t to be.
The Sportsman Club was booked for a private event on Thanksgiving, so the free community meal will this year be held in the cafeteria of Stevenson Elementary.
“We moved it to the Sportsman Club last year because we needed more room,” said Community Thanksgiving chairperson Annie Hall. “When we found out it was booked this year, we asked the Russellville school system if we could have it at Stevenson, and they were gracious enough to let us have it there.”
Approximately 150 people were served a free Thanksgiving meal last year at the Sportsman Club. Another 458 were delivered to families and individuals all around Logan County.
“We’re a school for the community so we were happy to let them use Stevenson for this year’s meal,” said Russellville schools superintendent Leon Smith. “I understand the scheduling conflict with the Sportsman Club and we were more than happy to provide a place for them. This is a great service and we are very pleased and excited to do our part to support it.”
Hall said that the Stevenson Cafeteria will be a perfect place to prepare and serve the meals.
“They serve so many kids there every day, so they’ve got the perfect setup to do the mass feeding that we are going to do,” she said. “And they’ve got the space for those who will be dining there.”
Those who choose to eat their meal at the school will not be sitting on the regular cafeteria benches, however.
“It’ll be a restaurant style setup with table cloths and servers,” Hall said.
The meal will be served from 1-3 p.m. and anyone that needs a ride can get one by calling First Presbyterian Church at 726-6207. Anyone planning to attend the meal at Stevenson needs to come in the side door.
“This being a smaller community, the people that come out there and eat usually run into people that they may not have seen in years,” Hall said. “We’ve had several people tell us that they plan on eating with us this year and we are really looking forward to the fellowship of that.”
For those that prefer to eat at home, deliveries will once again be available this year to anyone that wants one.
All the Thanksgiving meals are completely free of charge. To have a meal delivered, just call First Presbyterian Church at 726-6207. Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 14, someone will be at the church taking order from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Orders for the free meals will be accepted up until 7 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving.
“There’s no restrictions on this at all,” Hall said. “We don’t want anybody eating alone on a holiday or going without a meal.”
The dinner is designed to give people a place to come together and enjoy a family style, traditional Thanksgiving meal. The tables are set in fall decor and real dishes and silverware are used. Dinner includes turkey, dressing, various side dishes, rolls, dessert and drinks.
Hall said that food donations have continued to be a blessing this year.
“We have already gotten a lot of the food donated,” she said. “It’s overwhelming the number of donations that we’ve gotten. This is definitely a community event, there is no way it belongs to any one organization.”
Last year around 15 different churches and other organizations were involved.
More donations and workers are needed for the event, though.
If you would like to help in any way, simply call First Presbyterian Church to find out how.