No one should be alone for Thanksgiving – and a group of dedicated volunteers in Escalon is ready to make sure no one goes hungry and no one is alone for the holiday.
The free Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be served at the Escalon Community Center on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Coordinator Dianna Dunn said the center will be open around 11 a.m. for people to start arriving to socialize before the meal is served. Those attending can come at any time during the two-hour window and enjoy a home-cooked traditional Thanksgiving feast, with everything from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie.
New this year, she added, is a culinary school in Modesto joining in the effort, with two teachers and more than a dozen culinary students coming in on Wednesday, Nov. 22 to do the cooking in preparation for the feast.
“We are just so excited,” Dunn admitted of having some culinary specialists on board to assist.
The students can receive credit for participating and Dunn said many have also expressed an interest in returning on Thursday to help serve the meal and socialize with attendees.
Each year, along with the meal being hosted at the Community Center, volunteer drivers – often including some members of the high school football team – take meals out to those that are elderly or shut in and can’t travel to the center. The home delivery of meals is available by contacting DeeAnna Jackson at 209-838-6808. Call and leave a message regarding the number of meals along with a name and address for delivery.
Some people also choose to stop by the Community Center and ‘take out’ a meal to go home and eat; take-out orders can also be called in to Jackson at the same number, listing how many meals are needed and what time the pick-up will occur.
The annual dinner is put on through the Escalon Ministerial Association. Donations are accepted to help offset costs and donations of food items are also taken. Contact Dunn at 209-872-5322 to make arrangements or for more information.
The meal itself is free; all are welcome to come enjoy the meal and socialize with others in the relaxed setting.
“It seems like everything is going pretty smoothly,” Dunn said. “We have sign-up sheets for volunteers out at the different churches; a lot of people have said they want to help.”
She also encouraged attendees to come ready to share not only a meal but also some good conversation.
“It’s just a chance to meet more people in the community, I want everyone to come to eat and enjoy it,” Dunn said.