By Ashley Rader
Thanksgiving is a time for families to be together and share a delicious meal and memories.
And groups of local volunteers – including one set of turkey-war veterans and a first-time entry – are working to be sure families in Carter County will be provided with a free hot meal this Thanksgiving.
The newcomers to the Thanksgiving dinner scene have hosted dinners at their site, just not on the big day.
And the veterans? It’s a small group of folks who serve up full dinners for nearly 90 people out of a local market, something they’ve been doing for five years.
On Wednesday, the newcomers – volunteers with the Abortion Alternatives and Women’s Center – will serve a free Thanksgiving dinner from 3 to 7 p.m.
AAWC Director Angie Odom said this was the first time the center had hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner; the center was partnering with volunteers from First Baptist Church to provide the meal.
“They had usually cooked a meal for the community at their church but were unable to do it this year,” Odom said. “Their workers will be coming here to continue being able to offer that to the community.”
The women’s center provides space for the weekly Food for the Multitude program, a collaborative effort by five local churches to provide hot meals for people in need.
Odom said pre-orders had already been taken for residents who live in the senior living apartment complexes in the county. Some had also already submitted pre-orders to the center who plan to attend.
Odom said the group is planning for up to 500 people to take advantage of the community dinner.
“We wanted to make sure there would still be a hot meal served for the community on Thanksgiving,” she said. “Giving out a box of food is one thing, but we know some people can’t cook. It is a big deal to cook a Thanksgiving meal, especially if it is just one or two people in a family. We want to make sure we share with others and give them a good Thanksgiving.”