S ometimes it’s the people who give of themselves who end up the most thankful during the holiday season.
From one end of the former milking parlor now known as the Raceville Community Hall to the other, Sunday’s smiling faces told the story of a fun but tiring day and the joy of a home-cooked meal with all the fixings among good company.
For the first time ever the Raceville United Methodist Church congregation came together to provide a free Thanksgiving meal open to anyone who might have shown up. “That was our goal to reach out to people in the community,” the Rev. Ginny Deyo said Sunday. “We wanted to do something for people who maybe needed it, to show that this church is alive and well.”
Parishioners donated everything that was cooked including the five turkeys, along with a small mountain of potatoes, squash, peas and rolls with pie after pie for dessert.
As the steam began to clear toward the end of the four-hour food fest, Deyo said more than 100 meals were served during the inaugural effort.
Many were eaten in the newly revamped hall while other were taken home in “to go” containers and other dropped off at the homes of those who couldn’t get out to come to the dinner in person.
Perhaps the only meal of its kind within Granville, volunteers said, they were pleased with the response to the first-time event. A steady crowd of people came through the doors during the entire event.
As a former restaurateur head cook Doug Baker said he and his two children, Bob Baker and Laurie Conant, were uniquely suited to the task at hand — preparing dinner for an unknown number of guest whose numbers could top 100.
“I call them my ‘professional help,’” Doug Baker said pointing out the siblings. “They practically grew up in a restaurant so they can really help. You kind of get used to this. That’s why when we decided to do it. I asked them to help,” he said. “That, and we get to spend some time together.”
“This is fun. I had a good time,” Conant said.
The longtime proprietor of the Sugarhouse Restaurant in New Haven, Vt., Baker said that now that lives in the area where he grew up he likes to help out with community projects like this one.
Also backing up Baker were parishioner/volunteers Paulette Brindise, Barbara LeVesque, Dottie Smith, May Thomas, Ruth Peets, Margarite Tooley, Milton Smith, Lillian Ross and her daughter Betty and well as Doug’s wife, Mary Baker, better known as the Friends of the RUMC.
“The ladies really did a great job and really put their hearts into it. I can’t praise them high enough; they’re my little troupers,” Baker said as he began to put the carving knife to bird number five.
Baker said the current economic times were part of the reason the meal was started up this year versus any other time. “We started it because we know it was a hard year, a tough year for people, and we wanted to help people out,” Baker said.
Deyo said the church wanted to do something to show off the newly reinvigorated congregation as well as the hall and so it started holding dinners.
“It really went so well I imagine they’re going to want to do it again,” Deyo said.