The 24th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday will be at the newly renovated McPherson Community Building following a decision by the McPherson City Commission.
At its weekly meeting, held on Tuesday due to the Veterans Day Holiday on Monday, the commission voted to waive the fees associated with using the Community Building for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Day community dinners scheduled for Nov.28, and Dec. 25. The commission also authorized Nick McQueen, Community Building Event Manager, to sign a lease agreement.
According to Verla Thomason, who has volunteered to help organize the Thanksgiving Dinner since it began, the dinner was hosted by the McPherson Senior Center for one year before moving to the community building. It moved to the high school for two years, as the community building was renovated. It will return to the community building this year.
“There was a tiny kitchen in the community building, and we couldn’t really do anything other than dishes there … This is an entirely new facility for us,” Thomason said. “We can do a lot of cooking at the community building now with the bigger, and more up do date kitchen.”
There is, however, a lot of work to be done to prepare a meal for between 800 to 900 people.
“We need about 250 people to volunteer. We set up the day before and serve on Thanksgiving,” Thomason said. “... We are planning all the food, and all of that right now. We might have a big crowd this year. People have not seen [the newly renovated building], and people will want to come and see it. We think we will have a big crowd. It depends on the weather too.”
Volunteers are needed the day before to help set up, decorate and prepare the meal. Thanksgiving Day volunteers are needed to prepare and serve the meal — and after the dinner volunteers are needed for cleanup. To volunteer, call 620-755-0752.
To donate pies 620-241-5686. No homemade pumpkin or cream pies will be accepted due to lack of refrigeration.
No reservations will be necessary for the waiter served dinner. The meal consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dressing, fresh fruit salad, roll, pie and drinks.
“We fix so much food. If we have leftovers, it can get taken home after. If it is not enough, we can’t help it,” Thomason said. “ We serve until the food runs out, or the people run out.”
Carry outs are available, but limited to 5 per order. Dinners can be added after everyone is served if food is available.
Doors will open at 11:15 a.m. Dinner will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For a home delivery (limited to 5) call 620-241-0670 This is the 24th year for the free Thanksgiving Dinner and the board is looking forward to working with the volunteers to make the event possible.
Entrance to the Community Building will be through the North door from E. Marlin St.
Volunteers will be there to show you the way.
The free dinner is paid for through the generosity of area businesses and individuals and served by community volunteers. To help financially, a donation may be sent to PO Box 14 McPherson, Kansas 67460. A donation box will be available at the event.
Any questions call 620-241-0035. Email: McPhersonCommunity Dinners@gmail.com