Every year, the entire community is invited to gather together under the roof of the First Presbyterian Church for the annual free Thanksgiving dinner.
Everyone — young and old, rich and poor — is invited to the meal. Those who are lonely on Thanksgiving Day are welcome to come enjoy the company of community members and those who are hungry are welcome to come eat alongside them.
Not everyone has the mobility necessary to come eat and they are welcome to take part as well, by requesting the meal be delivered to them. Those who are working during Thanksgiving may call in to pick up a meal.
Community member Margaret Kilpatrick, alongside a host of donors and volunteers, is the one who makes it all happen.
She is able to keep the meal free to the public with a lot of support from the surrounding community, she said.
Kilpatrick took the event over in 2001, after the previous year had passed by without a community Thanksgiving dinner. During that time, she saw numerous people come in, hoping for a Thanksgiving meal, only to be turned away when they learned it had been canceled.
“It was not just the people who did not have food,” she recalled. “We fed those that had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving … There were people that just wanted to come in and eat and help. And when you see them finish eating and just sitting at the table visiting with each other, you like that.”
She asked her pastor at Second Missionary Baptist Church and he told her the event was hers to put on, if she was willing to organize it, which she did and has done ever since.
She advertised in the newspaper to get volunteers and had help from multiple churches throughout the community.
“When it comes to serving and preparing things, I must say the community really supports that,” she said.
The crew is prepared for 500 people this year. Last year, the meal fed an estimated 450 people.
“It’s really nice to have someplace where people can go and have a nice meal,” she said. “And we love preparing it.”
Food is currently being prepared for the annual dinner, but it’s not too late to help out. To keep the event sustainable, monetary donations are always welcome, according to Kilpatrick.
From noon until 1:30 p.m., the meal will be served in the church’s dining room at 113 W. Fifth St.
For more information, please call Kilpatrick at (785) 762-2780.
To request a delivery or arrange a pickup, please call the church at (785) 238-1191 by 3 p.m. Tuesday.