By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Thursday, November 24 or Thanksgiving Day, the CommUnity Thanksgiving Celebration will be held at Gadsden Convention Hall.
United Way facilitates the community dinner, but does not provide funds for the event. The dinner is made possible by community support through donations and volunteers. To donate money, mail a check to 605 South 4th Street, Gadsden, AL, 35901 with CommUnity Thanksgiving in the memo line.
People can acquire food in one of three ways. They can dine-in, carry-out or have it delivered. Dine-in will start at 10:30 a.m. Carry-out will begin at 11 a.m., though people picking up more than five plates of food should call ahead. To schedule a delivery, call before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving. To call ahead, dial 211 and enter 35901 when prompted for the zip code. If that fails, call 256-459-6991, which is a back-up number provided to make sure that no one goes without food.
This is the 12th year the community dinner has been hosted with help from partnered local churches.
Last year over 600 volunteers came to help feed almost 5000 people.
The celebration is not only for people who are in need of food, but also those in need of company.
“We don’t want people to spend Thanksgiving by themselves,” said organizer Darlene Harcrow.
As a result, volunteers are tasked with jobs such as greeters, parking lot attendants servers and bus boys, as well as the typical serving line, food prep and trash duties.
“Our goal is that from the moment they leave their vehicle until they get back into their vehicle, they have human contact,” said Harcrow.
The menu for the community Thanksgiving feast is classic with turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans and a roll with cake for dessert.
In order to prepare for the huge meal, volunteers begin food preparation on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thanksgiving, volunteers will come in as early as 5 a.m. to begin cooking.
Harcrow says that the volunteers come from all walks of life. Some volunteers are visiting from other areas. According to Harcrow, this crossover has led to nine similar events in other areas.
To sign up to volunteer, visit the CommUnity Thanksgiving Celebration page on Facebook and click on the signup.com link or call 211.