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