Organizers say that donations and offers to volunteer are “significantly down” so far for Cambria’s free annual community Thanksgiving dinner, to be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.
While the economy has probably affected those donations of time, effort and money, the financial situation also means that more people likely will dine at the dinner that’s open and free to all, no matter what their income bracket. There were 622 meals served at last year’s event.
Chef Daun Putney coordinates the annual event. She said she hopes members of her community will dig deep and spend time to make sure everybody on the North Coast has a good meal in good company on the holiday of plenty.
She reports that most volunteers report reaping the “magic of helping out with this event.” She said many “signed up for one shift, stayed the day to clean up, and then feel that contented full feeling that has nothing to do with being stuffed with food. It’s being stuffed with life, love, laughing, caring and meeting people.”
Volunteers are encouraged to contact Putney at 927-4064 as soon as possible if they want to help with tasks that include donating roasted, sliced turkeys and other food, cooking and serving at the hall, keeping the buffet stocked and tables clean, handing out pie, tidying up the hall and making sure everybody has a good time.
The free event is totally funded and run by volunteers, including those from the Cambria Vineyard Church and other churches, groups and businesses, including Robin’s Restaurant, Santa Rosa Catholic Church, Cookie Crock Market, Community Presbyterian Church, Creekside Gardens, First Baptist Church and Manta Rey Restaurant.
Some participants take their meals to go, but most people eat at the hall while enjoying music, decorations, friendship, conversation, laughter, hugs and, of course, good food.
People also can return to the hall at about 2:15 p.m., when any leftovers will be distributed.