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Community Thanksgiving Dinner prep underway


November 21, 2019

Havre Daily News/File photo

Ronnie Joe Skidmore, 5, center, anxiously awaits her Thanksgiving dinner as volunteers fill her plate with food at St. Jude Parish Center Nov. 22, 2018. Preparation for this year's holiday meal at the Parish Center is underway.

The organizers of the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner are looking for volunteers for the dinner and to deliver takeout meals, and is inviting everyone to join the holiday celebration Thanksgiving Day.

"Volunteers are key, the dinner is 100 percent run by the volunteers," Community Thanksgiving Dinner Chairperson Debi Rhines said.

She added that the volunteer opportunities are Wednesday, Nov. 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. or Thursday, Nov. 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All duties are related to food service such as food prep, food service, set up, clean up and delivery.

People who are interested in volunteering at St. Jude Parish Center can call or text Rhines at 945-2833. 

"I encourage people to pick a day or time that works best for them, then let me know," she said. "Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult."

People who would like to order a meal must call the North Central Senior Citizens Center the week of Thanksgiving at 265-5464 by 4 p.m. Wednesday, the day before the dinner.

"We request people to order only one meal per person in the house," she said. "There are about 19 routes, and the team delivers over 425 meals.  People must be available at the address they provided between the hours of 9 to 10 a.m. to receive a meal."

People who are interested in volunteering for a delivery route can call Melanie Zuidema at 265-1610. 

Rhines said the Community Thanksgiving Dinner started decades ago, organized by a community member who wanted to bring people together on Thanksgiving Day.

She added that, from the first, the Havre Community Dinner has been free to the public, with the expenses paid for by an anonymous donor and 100 percent of the preparations done by volunteers.  

Donations are not accepted at the dinner.

Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods bakes all the pies and dinner rolls, and they prepare all the turkeys for the dinner, she said.

"The food is only a part of the spirit of the project. We always hope people will have a sense of community and gratitude when they leave the dinner," Rhines said. "Musicians are always welcome to come and share their talents. If turkey is not your meal of choice, come for pie, coffee and fellowship."

The meal will be served in St. Jude Parish Center, 440 Seventh Ave., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 All leftovers are taken to the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen for their ministry. 


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