F or the eighth consecutive year, residents of Whitehall will receive a warm welcome and a hearty Thanksgiving meal at the United Methodist Church.
The Companions in Christ Fellowship Committee will be hosting their eighth annual Thanksgiving Dinner from1to3 p.m.at the church onGreenmount Cemetery LaneinWhitehall.
Each year the organization comes together and provides local residents an opportunity to come to the church and enjoy a home cooked meal. Over the last eight years the dinner has continued to grow and last year’s meal saw more than 300 dinners served.
“As a group we came together to discuss what we wanted to happen in the community and decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner for the community,” said Maxine Willis, a member of the organization putting the dinner together. “It was amazing how quickly it came together.”
The meal embodies the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.
All the food, from the turkeys to the squash and the pies, are either donated directly by local residents, church members or businesses or indirectly by monetary donations from throughout the area.
“The community has always responded, the entire dinner is provided totally on donations,” Willis said.
Those donations include time as well.
A small army of volunteers spends the weeks leading up to the meal prepping, pre-cooking and organizing the meal.
“We’re already under way. We try and pre-cook a lot of things before the meal. The Equinox in Albany has been very helpful in providing information on how to put these kinds of meals together,” said Willis, who puts her entire family to work in the days leading up to the meal.
Her husband donates his time preparing and cooking dishes in the days before the meal and her son, a professional chef, keeps things under control in the kitchen on the day of the big event.
And then there are all the other volunteers who deliver meals, lay out the place settings, bake pies and prepare the church for the big meal.
“We have a good core team,” Willis said.
Anyone who is willing to lend a helping hand is encouraged to contact Willis or call the church.
Volunteers are needed to deliver meals, help in the kitchen or even assist with the clean-up after everyone has left.
Organizers are also still accepting donations of food or money to help pay for food.
“We could always use some more pies,” Willis said.
Anyone who would like to attend the meal or volunteer is encouraged to call Maxine Willis at (518) 499-1565 or the church at (518) 499-0851. Those who would like a dinner delivered are encouraged to call one of the above numbers by Wednesday, Nov. 23.
The meal will include all the staples of your typical Thanksgiving meal including turkey, stuffing, potatoes and dessert.
Most people come early and eat around 1 p.m. but meals will continue to be served until 3 p.m.
Organizers will also collect donation for the Whitehall Food Pantry on the day of the event.