Another great Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Grange

Girl Scouts volunteer at the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. - Contributed photo
Girl Scouts volunteer at the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Jim and Minnie Knych

Special to the Journal

Thanksgiving at the Grange was a day of sharing and caring as more than 400 people enjoyed a wonderful meal together.  This was the 13th annual event.  Despite the current difficult economic times, we do have a lot to be thankful for and that is especially true for San Juan Islanders.

How can we explain the army of volunteers and the masses of diners who join us for this day of giving thanks?  Is it because people like the feeling of community and family?  This is a time we can gather with a mixture of generations and viewpoints.  It is a day we all join in the camaraderie of giving thanks for the blessings we have.  Political differences and neighborhood disputes are forgotten.   Everyone and anyone can bask in the feeling of family and community.

On Wednesday evening, pre-dinner preparations include the Soroptimist Club and Leo Club helping with the set up of tables.  Turkeys are seasoned and prepared for pick-up by volunteer cookers.  Ingredients are mixed for the dressing, and the hall gets a final cleaning and decoration.

Thanksgiving Day starts off at a casual pace as the first of more than 100 volunteers show up to sip coffee and peel 150 pounds of potatoes for the mashed potatoes.  As the diners arrive, the pace picks up and the volunteers have to rush to keep the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans and Waldorf salad replenished for the diners.

The 28 turkeys are donated by our local grocery, King’s Market.   Island Insurance owner Kerwin Johnsons donates $500 toward the groceries.  Lions, Kiwanis, Soroptimists,  American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, Sons of Legion, and Rotary each donate money to help pay for the groceries.  The local Girl Scouts donate pies from their pumpkin pie sales and this year, served as greeters.  Diners bring pies to share and many make a donation so that we are able to continue to meet expenses.

Once again, the Grange Hall served as the heart of the community.   It is a great connection to Friday Harbor’s past and we hope it will continue to be a gathering place long into the future. But more important, it is a warm and friendly place to give thanks for the present.

Thank you to the volunteers, supporters and diners for giving us a wonderful Thanksgiving to remember.

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