Do­na­tions needed for com­mu­nity Thanks­giv­ing din­ner

Cecil Whig - - 5 - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

— Per­ryville res­i­dent Carol Halsey ex­pects to serve as many as 500 peo­ple dur­ing the free Thanks­giv­ing din­ner she’ll host for the eighth time this year. But to do that, she’s look­ing for some help from the com­mu­nity.

As of Fri­day, Halsey said she has 36 out of the 75 tur­keys needed for the din­ner, which is held at the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post No. 6027 in North East and is open to every­one. She also needs canned food such as canned yams, canned cran­berry sauce, ker­nel corn and canned cut green beans.

But she said do­na­tions are not limited to just food.

“I have peo­ple give me cash do­na­tions, as well, be­cause they just don’t have the time to or the en­ergy to run out or do the shop­ping,” Halsey said.

There will be two din­ner seat­ings, the first from 11 a. m. to 1 p. m. and the sec­ond from 2 p. m to 5 p. m., Halsey said. While there is an hour break be­tween the seat­ings, peo­ple are still welcome to come into the post, she added.

This is the third year the free din­ner has been held at the VFW after be­ing held at Par­adise Grill for the first five years, said Halsey, who’s a for­mer co- owner of the restau­rant but is now the kitchen man­ager at the VFW.

The din­ner be­gan eight years ago, when Halsey’s hus­band asked her to pre­pare din­ner for about 30 peo­ple in his men’s group, Halsey said. They then de­cided to open up the din­ner to the com­mu­nity, serv­ing 89 peo­ple that first year, she said.

Last year’s din­ner served 353 peo­ple, in­clud­ing take­out, and she hopes to serve at least 500 peo­ple this year, Halsey said.

The tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing din­ner in­cludes tur­key, stuff­ing, mashed pota­toes and tur­key gravy, among other food, she said.

Those who at­tend the din­ner are greeted at the door and are served “fam­ily style,” with servers tak­ing or­ders, she said.

In ad­di­tion to the din­ner, meals will also be de­liv­ered to the home­less and oth­ers in need around the com­mu­nity, Halsey added.

About 50 vol­un­teers are help­ing with the event, in­clud­ing Paul Kehnast, who stopped by the VFW last week to donate money to­ward the din­ner.

“I think it’s fan­tas­tic,” said Kehnast, judge ad­vo­cate with the post, of the din­ner. “Carol does a fan­tas­tic job to help peo­ple around Cecil County.”

Kehnast, who is a re­turn­ing vol­un­teer, do­nated $ 20 but said him and his wife also plan to come and help “pick tur­keys,” or take the meat off the birds, prior to the din­ner.

To pre­pare for the din­ner, Halsey will be­gin cook­ing the tur­keys on Fri­day, both at the VFW and at friends’ homes.

But while pre­par­ing din­ner for 500 peo­ple may seem like a daunt­ing task, Halsey said she doesn’t mind cook­ing large quan­ti­ties of food.

“This what I love to do, I love to do food,” she said.

Peo­ple can donate tur­keys and other food items un­til Tues­day, Nov. 22. Do­na­tions, ei­ther food or mon­e­tary, can be dropped off at the VFW or con­tact Halsey at 443- 309- 5584.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Tom Pin­der, a U. S. Marine Corp vet­eran, speaks dur­ing a Cecil Col­lege panel as Lisha Hunter, a U. S. Army vet­eran, and Jim Buck­land, a U. S. Air Force vet­eran, lis­ten.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Paul Kehnast, judge ad­vo­cate with the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post No. 6027 do­nates $ 20 to­ward the Thanks­giv­ing din­ner be­ing pre­pared by Carol Halsey.

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