Preparations are under way to serve 3,000 meals of turkey and all the trimmings to anyone looking for fellowship and a place to spend Thanksgiving.
The Edmond Community Thanksgiving Dinner is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving day, at the University of Central Oklahoma Nigh University Center. The public is welcome at no charge.
“No one needs to be alone on Thanksgiving even if they’re far away from their nuclear family around the country,” said Biruta Harris, central committee member and volunteer coordinator.
The event is open to anybody whether they need the food or need the fellowship, Harris said.
“Some people like to drop by and pick up a meal between those hours as well,” Harris said. “We also have home delivery for those folks who cannot make it here.”
At the end of the day, meals are also donated to Jesus House as well as food to Edmond Mobile Meals, Breakfast on Boulevard, Samaritan House, HOPE Center, Cooks Nite Out and My Brother’s Keeper.
Edmond churches including First Presbyterian, the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Southern Hills Christian, First United Methodist are sponsoring the dinner with New Covenant Methodist Church serving as host. Success is also reliant on the Edmond Thanksgiving Dinner Association, a nonprofit corporation of volunteers, funded by individuals and corporate sponsors.
“We probably have at least 500 volunteers,” Harris said.
Shifts of volunteers work throughout the dinner time as well as for food preparation, pick-up and clean-up efforts. More volunteers are especially needed for food preparation on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21, Harris said.
Among the meal items to be prepared are 150 turkeys, 450 pounds of white potatoes and 350 pounds of sweet potatoes, Harris said.
“We’d love for people in their 30s and 40s to come into the central committee and carry on this tradition because the folks that are in there, we’ve been there forever,” Harris said.
The first time the community Thanksgiving Dinner was served in Edmond was Thanksgiving Day 1981.
“It’s very important to us to get some young families in that would contribute their time yearly,” said Mike Laska, central committee member.
It is a matter of time that the Edmond Community Thanksgiving Dinner will have to stop unless new volunteers are willing to organize and staff the meals in future years, Laska said.
“It’s a wonderful activity for any family because they’re going to facilitate needs not just for food but they’ll be facilitating needs for fellowship, for community, for service, nourishment and they’re going to nourish the souls of their own children and their own family,” Laska said.
Many young families are only contributing resources but not their time, Laska said. He cannot accept that young families don’t have the time to volunteer because of their careers.
“So have we,” Laska said. “We’ve done it for 31 years and we’ve committed out time and given of our time freely.”
FOR HOME delivery for people who cannot leave their homes, call 341-3602, ext. 130. To volunteer, contact the volunteer access line at 340-0691, ext. 343, or email Biruta Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.