With the turn of the calendar to November, thoughts start drifting to Thanksgiving Day, and a group of residents has a special thought with the holiday: feeding those who might not have a meal or anywhere to go.
The 12th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner is set to go on Turkey Day, with the committee in charge looking for help from the community.
The dinner will be hosted, once again, by The First Congregational Church of West Haven. And, except for the Covid years, those looking for a place to have a meal with a group can do so. The dinner will be served in the church’s Fellowship Hall with curbside pick-up at the church entrance at 464 Campbell Ave.
“The dining room service will be from Noon to 1:30p.m.,” said Bill Ewry, longtime chairman of the event. “The time for the curbside pickup will be announced prior to Thanksgiving.”
Dinners will be provided by registration only so the committee will know how many dinners to prepare. With the help of area restaurants and donations from the public, more than 300 meals were distributed last year, and over the years, it has been a way to bring the holiday to shut-ins and those alone.
“We will be accepting requests for dinners through our church office by phone, our website, or email,” said Ewry.
Requests will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 17, the chairman said. After the meal requests have been received, the requesters will be called with directions prior to Thanksgiving Day.
The Thanksgiving meal will have all the fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner including: Once again, The University of New Haven, through the school’s food services provider, has volunteered to provide some of the food for the dinner, but that means the committee is still looking for donations.
If anyone would like to support the dinner with a monetary donation, checks can be made out to “The First Congregational Church of West Haven” and sent to the church office at 1 Church St., West Haven, CT 06516 attention Bill Ewry with “Thanksgiving Dinner” in the memo.
Those looking to make food donations may do so by dropping food off at the church office at the Church Street address through Nov. 17, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The committee is looking for many items but has a special request.
“It may sound odd, but we could use canned jellied cranberry sauce, and canned sliced carrots,” said Ewry.
Though this is the 12th edition of this iteration of the Thanksgiving Dinner, such events go back to the early 1980s. A committee of the West Haven Clergy Association began the dinners, and ran them for several years in collaboration with the West Haven Emergency Assistance Taskforce (WHEAT). The group also ran a soup kitchen during the week.
Eventually, the work was considered out of the growing range of WHEAT and the various subcommittees and tuned over to its present group of residents. The once constant has been the hosting of the event at First Congregational Church and using the Fellowship Hall.
In the 1990s many people volunteered for the event, and hundreds of people came for the meal just to experience the community that was fostered.
Ewry said finally, the group expects the requests to be in line with past years.