In 10 minutes, volunteers handed out about 300 Thanksgiving meals Tuesday afternoon.
Avery Roman was in shock afterward, as volunteers still took out trays of leftover macaroni and cheese and the remaining slices of cake to would-be diners who came after the rush.
“We’re still giving away bottles of water, mac and cheese, whatever we have left,” Marandy Woolridge said.
This is the sixth year Roman and Woolridge have teamed up to spearhead a community dinner, hosted at the American Legion Post 224 building. In previous years, guest speakers have led diners and volunteers in prayer and music has livened up the atmosphere. Guests were invited to dine for free, volunteers serving them plates and everyone sitting in the main room to eat together.
This year, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Roman said things had to be different. Instead of dining in, guests were treated to a drive-thru meal. Volunteers prepared plates inside and brought them to drivers through the back door.
But when they saw that drivers were lined up before the 4 p.m. start time, they decided to start serving. Within 10 minutes, they were sold out, with about 300 plates served. The meals included ham, turkey, macaroni and cheese, green beans, dressing and rice with gravy. Diners also got a roll, a piece of cake and bottles of water.
“None of this would have been possible without the people who donated, and the people who helped fix plates,” Roman said. “It’s still just amazing to me.”
Stella Meritt, one of the volunteers, said she brought some coworkers out from Eaton to help prepare meals.
“I love helping out the community,” she said. “Last year, we had the employee involvement team come out.”
Woolridge said the people who volunteer, who donated food and who spent their own time helping cook and prepare the meals are the same people, year after year. Even with COVID-19 putting many people’s employment at risk, the community still came together to ensure those who wanted a Thanksgiving dinner could get one.
“It makes us appreciate them that much more,” Roman said.