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Residents Offer Thanks For Giving
A home cooked meal, served up to eat in or for takeout and delivery, was the focus of a Thanksgiving Day for the community at the Escalon Community Center.

Coordinator Chris Weckerly said the Nov. 22 dinner went off well, with nearly 100 boxed up 'to go' orders for individuals and families, over 100 meals home delivered to the elderly and shut-ins, and several dozen more 'eating in' at the Community Center.

"My caterers were outstanding, the food was fantastic, a lot of people said that," Weckerly said.

Louie Blodgett was the head chef, working cooperatively with Joe Coelho, along with assistance from Merri Blodgett. The husband-wife team of Louie and Merri run Blodgett Catering and Coelho also has a catering business.

Weckerly said there were plenty of volunteers to help as well, from handing out the boxed orders of dinners for take-out to doing the home deliveries. They also helped by delivering plates of food to diners coming to eat inside the center. Weckerly said there was also an option for buffet style service for those that wanted to serve themselves, in addition to the traditional taking of orders. Diners said they were appreciative of the meal, which has become a holiday staple in the community.

It was her first year serving as coordinator for the event and Weckerly said the efforts of the cooks, clean-up crew and her committee were crucial to the success.

Preparations at the center were made on Wednesday, with decorations put on tables, the last of the food prepared and the 'to go' boxes put together, ready for the loading up of food on Thursday.

There was more than enough food, added Weckerly, with the committee later delivering some plates to the police and fire departments to share the holiday.

She pointed to donations of turkeys from the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department to a check from Soares Tractor Service that covered the cost of all the pies as being keys.

Some people coming in to eat the free of charge meal made donations anyway, said Weckerly, and that went a long way toward covering the cost of the food as well, with some 'seed money' still available to put on the Community Thanksgiving in 2013.

The chefs cooked up 24 turkeys, peeled, cooked and mashed potatoes, did gravy from scratch, served green beans with bacon, rolls and the pumpkin pie for dessert.

"We couldn't have done it without the caterers and they worked as a team," Weckerly said.

She also praised The Times for its efforts in promoting the dinner and the City of Escalon for providing the use of the Community Center for the annual dinner.