With the renovations completed at the recently refurbished and expanded American Legion and American Legion Riders post room on Second Street in Escalon, the local Legion members have enjoyed welcoming the community in for events.
The most recent was a Saturday night dinner, Sept. 21, which wrapped up a series of monthly gatherings that featured plenty of good food and conversation.
Hosted at the Gustafson-Thompson Post 263 facility, the Saturday night dinner featured a Mexican food feast, with chicken and beef enchiladas, rice, beans, chips and salsa and beverages. There was also a dessert table with a variety of sweets.
“We had fish fry, a chili dog night, taco night,” said George Tavares, one of the organizers of the free monthly meals.
He said the idea behind it is just to get people in the community to come out and enjoy a nice meal in a friendly atmosphere. There is no cost, though donations for the Post are accepted.
The September meal was the final one in the first round; with a number of events coming up over the next few months – Halloween, Veterans Day, the holiday season – organizers said they will take a break and resume the monthly dinners in January.
“We’ve had our regulars that always show up,” Tavares said of attendees.
Fellow Post member Al Bellinger said the tables have been full for some of the dinners and those taking part always seem to go away with a smile.
“If you know about it and want to eat, just show up,” Bellinger said of the approach they took in hosting the dinners.
He also offered thanks to the wives of many Post members, who he said provided plenty of support in terms of planning and preparing for the dinners.
“They’ve helped out a lot,” he said.
The majority of the cooking for the dinners was done on site, behind the Second Street building, then served up buffet style for those that joined in to eat.
Tavares and John Blowers had the initial idea, said Bellinger.
“We try something a little different each time,” he added of the menu.
Riverbank resident Wendy Tavares, the niece of George Tavares, came in to get a ‘to go’ order on Saturday night.
“This is my first time,” she said of attending. “I think it’s an amazing way to bring the community together.”