Celebrate Thanksgiving with free dinner
A free Dickinson community Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared with support of volunteers and donations.
Serving is 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 22, at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge.
"It's a nice way to celebrate Thanksgiving," committee member Janet Johanson said. "Please join us at the dinner if you don't want to cook, or would just like to join some friendly folks for a nice meal. It is open to anyone and everyone."
The origin of the community dinner is credited to the late Dominic Pereira, a deacon at Queen of Peace Church. Started in 1984, the meal was managed by the Knights of Columbus until the KC Club closed and volunteers took over.
"It's 100 percent sponsored by volunteers and donations," Johanson said.
The committee is planning for 1,000 meals. The menu includes turkey, ham, dressing, corn, cole slaw, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, buns and pies.
When guests arrive, they will be invited to sit down and visit until the meal is ready, Johanson said.
For people who can't leave their homes, volunteers will deliver meals to them. To receive a home-delivered meal, call Sandy Nelson, 701-290-7509 between Monday and Nov. 20. Leave an address and phone number. The meals will be delivered from 11 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving day.
Johanson estimates nearly 200 volunteers will step forward to help serve and deliver meals.
Jeff and Peggy Anderson and their son and daughter have assisted in the kitchen or delivered meals for several years. The family usually puts their Thanksgiving dinner in the oven before they leave home.
"I know a lot of people are alone don't have a meal," Jeff Anderson said. "It's a pretty heart-warming thing to do."
Scott Cecil, who's known as Yoder in the Oil Patch, plans to help out again this year. He's volunteering because it was a positive experience last year.
"Thanksgiving was a really troublesome time last year because I was all by myself," he said. "I came here, sharing an apartment with my younger brother. He was killed last year on Sept. 29 in McKenzie County. I was dealing with all of that at the same time my wife and daughters were 1,200 miles away. Then, here comes Thanksgiving."
Cecil said it's his nature to give back. He read about the free Thanksgiving dinner and the need for volunteers.
"I was so happy to be able to be around other people," he said. "It was actually therapy for me. When I got one task completed, I moved to another."
This year, his family moved from northwest Illinois to Dickinson.
"We're volunteering again this year, and next year and the year after," he said.
Persons interested in volunteering may call Johanson at 701-590-9004.
Donations also are needed to cover the expenses.
"We're in desperate need of monetary donations to continue this program," committee member Bonita Ellis said. "I believe so many people who are living here, live hand to mouth and don't have the means to have a Thanksgiving. The dinner is a way to bring the community together -- it's just a way to give back."
Donations may be dropped by The Dickinson Press or on the day of the meal. To mail a donation, send to: Dickinson Community Thanksgiving Dinner, P.O. Box 604, Dickinson, ND 58602.
For more information regarding donations, call Ellis at 701-456-1218.