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Scituate prepares for Community Thanksgiving

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 21, 2012 02:54 PM

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Scituate residents are busy preparing for a community Thanksgiving after inviting people from neighboring communities to take part in the celebrations.

The event, which welcomes any person or family from any economic status or background to join in a Thanksgiving meal, which Colleen and Bill McCall began after moving to Scituate in 2005.

Neighbors and friends have since come together to help prepare and cook the food for the meal, which takes place at the Harbor United Methodist Church Thanksgiving day.

Now its seventh year, organizers have started inviting residents from surrounding communities to take part in the celebration.

“I think it’s predominantly Scituate, though in the last two years specifically we’ve been trying to extend to our neighbors in Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, and this year Hull and Marshfield as well to make sure its all-inclusive,” said Christopher George, a volunteer. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the numbers grow from low 70s to last year low 80s [in attendance]. It’s growing and I think it’s becoming more of a tradition.”

While the McCalls have been preparing for this event for months; accepting donations of food or money from Roche Bros., Village Market, Stop & Shop, and Shaw's, and letting people know about the event through different community groups; the bulk of the work is taking place Wednesday and Thursday morning, as dozens of volunteers descend on the church to help prep, cook, and serve the Thanksgiving meal.

“This is where it all comes to a head. A lot of the work done to date is all communication, gathering volunteers and beginning to organize them in terms of what work they are going to do and how it fits in to the event,” George said on Tuesday.

Already volunteers have peeled apples, potatoes, and carrots, and have prepped sauces, stuffing, and pies.

“On Thursday it all really comes together with perhaps as many as twice the volunteers to welcome guests, seat them…it is a sit-down service. It’s not a buffet style line, [so we’re] getting drinks, cutting pies, the whole deal,” George said. “The numbers I like to throw around were we served and delivered 160 pounds of food [in previous years]. It was roughly half that in turkey breast and then the remaining spread across stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, etc.”

According to Bill McCall, the food costs approximately $500, which makes enough food for 125 people. Though the McCalls have previously donated money to make up the difference between donations and what’s needed, this year the couple had enough donated money to purchase everything.

And there is always more than enough, Bill said, even though the event has blossomed in recent years.

“It has grown. Has it exploded? No. We’ve continually had more people come to it, but we’ve also had more of our own church members who forgo their own Thanksgiving prep and come to the church to help and eat with us,” Bill said.

The range of people who show up is also pleasantly surprising, Bill said, as there are those that are elderly or alone, or even full families who want to celebrate with a group of people.

There are those both fortunate and less fortunate who show up, the employed and the unemployed; there is no common demographic.

Once the meal is served, the servers take a plate and sit among the guests, an aspect that makes the event a community meal.

“What I find worthwhile and rewarding about this event that when you look across the room you see an array of people – old and young, those who are comfortable and those struggling, and we all sit together,” Bill said.

The event will occur from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Last-minute guests are welcome, and those who need rides can call 781-545-0818.

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