This year’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner served its largest number yet.
On Thursday, the 16th annual meal served 812 people - up nearly 100 from a year ago.
“I’ve been doing this for 14 years now, so I got involved pretty close to the beginning,” said Steve Matthews, one of the event organizers. “And every year it grows. No matter what is going on with the economy, we always wind up finding more seniors and more shut-ins to serve.”
Approximately 100 of those meals were served at First Presbyterian Church in Russellville. The rest were delivered to homes all throughout Logan County.
As usual, the work was all done by volunteers and it truly was a community effort.
“I know that we had people from at least 40 different churches that helped - whether it was cooking food for the meal, delivering meals, helping prepare them or helping with the setup,” Matthews said. “There were all different congregations and denominations coming together to work on this project.”
Matthews said there was probably 200 volunteers that worked on one aspect or another of the project.
“There had to be that many,” he said. “We need that many to serve over 800 people. And we’ll need even more volunteers and more donations next year, because I am sure it will grow again.”
In all, 59 turkeys were cooked and prepared for the meal. Along with countless pans of sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
“There was also a lot of businesses in the community that helped make this possible,” Matthews said. “Logan Aluminum cooked all the turkeys for us. And several businesses donated things like our carry out boxes that we used to deliver the meals in.”
The Russellville Independent school board also allowed the Community Thanksgiving the use of Stevenson Elementary’s cafeteria and kitchen again for cooking and staging the delivery of the meals.
“On behalf of the Community Thanksgiving board, we just want to give a big thank you to anybody that helped in any way,” Matthews said.