San Juan: Loosen your belt and join your neighbors at two community dinners

This handsome fellow is expecting you for dinner — twice, on Sunday and on Thanksgiving Day.  - Molly Neely-Walker
This handsome fellow is expecting you for dinner — twice, on Sunday and on Thanksgiving Day.
— image credit: Molly Neely-Walker

There’s no reason to be hungry, alone or miss out on some camaraderie with your neighbors this Thanksgiving season.

Volunteers are preparing turkey with all the trimmings, sweet potatoes and pies for two community Thanksgiving dinners.

The events are free and open to the public. The only requirement: Bring a smile and an appetite.

The Early Thanksgiving Dinner is Sunday, 2:30 p.m. in the Friday Harbor High School cafeteria.

For more than 20 years, Dan Miller Sr. and his wife, Donna, have helped dish out food and fellowship. About 150 to 200 people attend the dinner every year.

Preparation for the feast is done by volunteers. Donors contribute money for food.

On Thanksgiving Day, the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner begins at noon in the Grange Hall on First Street. For close to a decade, Jim and Minnie Knych have worked with service clubs and organizations to offer turkey and trimmings to hundreds of people free of charge. An average of 300 islanders attend the afternoon of fun, food and fellowship.

Local service clubs and sponsors provide the seed money for food purchases. King's Market donates 24 turkeys for the event.

Waldorf salad, dressing, mashed potatoes, yams and green bean casserole are among the dishes prepared by an army of volunteers. “Anyone interested can walk in and help,” Minnie said.

Robin Delazerda and her children have attended the event every year since moving to the island eight years ago. The entire family helps serve, clean and set up games.

Enjoy board games, jigsaw puzzles and music, as well as a television viewing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and football games.

Islanders are welcome to donate pies.

Heidi Broward, a former resident of Friday Harbor, was deeply touched by two dinners she attended the past two years. Shortly after moving to Friday Harbor, she was alone on Thanksgiving while her husband worked off-island.

“I felt so blessed,” she said. The following year, she and her husband attended the dinner. “It was a very big ministry to us,” Broward said.

You could win a 12-pound turkey
King's Market customers can earn a free frozen 12-pound grade A turkey (or equal cash value) when $500 is spent. Individual punch cards tally the amount of money spent. Turkeys or equal cash value can be donated to the Food Bank. Requests for punching Food Bank cards are offered at the register. Cards are valid through Nov. 27.

Residents are encouraged to donate food or funds to the local Food Bank. The number of households the Food Bank serves has more than doubled the last two months.

Girl Scouts, Brownies are selling pies
Junior Girl Scout Troop 183 and the local Brownie Troop plan to sell homemade pies at Marketplace from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 26. A dozen or more little chefs will be mixing, kneading and baking hundreds of pumpkin and pecan pies just in time for Thanksgiving. Proceeds support local Girl Scouts.

The cost for pumpkin pies is $10; for pecan, $12. Traditional Thanksgiving desserts can be reserved by calling 370-5462. Dads are being encouraged to bake with their daughters.

Last year, 250 pies made by the local Girl Scouts and Brownies were served at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner and island homes.

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