The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many plans for organizations around the city and nation. With the city’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, plans have been altered to deal with the new reality, while offering a traditional holiday meal to those who might not have one.
Bill Ewry, chairman of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner Committee, announced this week the nine edition of the long-running event under this committee will go on as scheduled – but with a few accommodations to the situation.
In a letter sent to supporters and benefactors, Ewry outlined how this year’s dinner was going to unfold.
“I am writing to announce the 9th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. The dinner will once again be hosted by The First Congregational Church of West Haven,” he wrote. “This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a sit-down dinner. The dinner will be served packaged curbside at our church entrance at 464 Campbell Ave.
As in year’s past ,the Thanksgiving meal will still have all the fixings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner including: turkey, green beans, dressing, carrots, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and desserts.
The holiday is coming up fast, and the committee is looking for reservations by those who want to take part in the event.
Requests will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 20.
Members of the community that requests dinners will receive directions on how to pick up their meal on Thanksgiving.
Usually, the committee looks for donations of food and desserts from members of the community, churches or help from fraternal organizations. Because of COVID, changes in how meals will be prepared and where to get the food were made.
“For safety concerns, we will not be accepting food donations from the community this year,” Ewry wrote. “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.”
While that helps with some of the logistics, the committee is still hoping the community can contribute monetarily toward its support.
If anyone would like to support the dinner with a monetary donation, the donation should be sent to the church office at 1 Church St., West Haven, CT 06516 attention Bill Ewry with “Thanksgiving Dinner” in the memo.
While this is the ninth edition of this dinner as it is now constructed, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner was originally organized by a subcommittee of the West Haven Clergy Association in the 1980s. A committee going by the acronym ACTION (Associated Congregations Together in Outreach Networking) was put under the direction of then-pastor of First Methodist (now First and Wesley) Church, the Rev. Art Yost.
That committee continued for more than 20 years when it was found the various efforts, which by then included a weekly soup kitchen, were encroaching on each other. Yost separated the dinner from other efforts before he retired, some of which are still ongoing.
First Congregational Church, which hosted the first dinner in its Fellowship Hall more than 30 years ago, took over the dinner, and Ewry has been in charge ever since.