B y Derek Liebig
Maxine Willis couldn’t do it without the help of the community.
Willis, chair of the Companions in Christ Fellowship Committee’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, depends on the dedication of volunteers and donations from the community to help pull off the dinner.
“This event is totally funded by donations from the community,” Willis said.
The entire meal, from the turkey to the apples in the renowned apple cobbler, is bought using donations generously given by local businesses and individuals.
That support has enabled the dinner to become a Thanksgiving tradition in Whitehall for a decade. Next week’s meal will mark the event’s 10th anniversary.
“This is a special year for us,” Willis said.
Volunteers initially received instruction from the staff of the Equinox in Albany in how to pull off a meal of its size.
Much of the prep work is done in the days leading up to the event and much of cooking is done Wednesday.
Members of Willis’ family and parishioners at the Whitehall United Methodist Church spend countless hours leading up to Thanksgiving preparing the meal. Her son Francis, who owns the Gourmet Café in Glens Falls, heads up the kitchen, members of the church dole out servings of turkey and mashed potatoes on the day of the meal, students from Whitehall High School set up the tables and help ensure that water pitchers never run dry, and volunteers from the community give a few hours of their time to deliver meals to those who are unable to physically attend the meal themselves.
This year’s meal will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving at the Whitehall United Methodist Church, located at Greenmount Cemetery Lane. The event is open to the community and organizers encourage anyone who doesn’t have a place to eat, or don’t have the means to cook their own meal, to attend.
The meal is free and deliveries can be arranged for people who can’t be in attendance. Reservations are not required.
If you would like to arrange a meal to be delivered or have questions, call the church at 499-0851 on Thanksgiving Day.