MASSENA — Hundreds of free turkey dinners flew out of the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall last Wednesday and the Massena Community Center on Thanksgiving Day.
The First United Methodist Church Community Meals program and St. Peter’s Outreach Ministries joined forces on Wednesday to offer a full-fledged to-go Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for two hours. By the time the last vehicle had been served, 700 dinners had been handed out to the community or delivered to those who couldn’t get out.
“What a great feeling being able to serve our community in this way,” said Kathryn Perry, coordinator of the Community Meals program.
Ms. Perry said churches and individuals donated turkeys for the dinner, and service groups and individuals provided cash donations to support the meal.
“Thank you to Rotary, Frenchie (Coupal) and members of our community for their generous donations which allowed us to put on this meal,” she said.
The kitchen was busy that day. Volunteers cooked 40 turkeys, 200 pounds of potatoes, hundreds of pounds of squash, stuffing, homemade rolls, pumpkin pies and cranberries over a four-day period.
“The meal was served on Wednesday to give our volunteers the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their family,” Ms. Perry said. “Volunteers from the Methodist Church, the Community Meals, St. Peter’s Outreach Ministries and others around town made it possible for us to do this meal. Thank you for your generous donation of your time and talent to this meal.”
Scouts were also on hand to assist, including Mark McEwen, Isabella Taddinio, Terrianna Kerr, Landyn and Greyson Norman from Pack 31; Xavier Taddonio from Troop 41; and Sophia Guerard, Sadie Fent, Grace Chagnon, Leahbeth Guerard and Jeffrey Guerard.
“What a fun and dedicated group of girls and boys. They helped to serve and distribute the meals to our guests,” Ms. Perry said. “All and all, a fun day of giving back to our community.”
The church also offers a regular free community dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. The meals are to-go only at this time. Thursday’s meal is Italian chicken over pasta, and fruit.
More free turkey dinners were on the plate from noon to 5 p.m. or until the food was gone on Thanksgiving Day at the Massena Community Center, courtesy of Premo’s Pizza & Subs and Fahrenheit. Jason Premo said they served 250 dinners before closing the kitchen for the day.
Some businesses also stepped forward with donations for the dinner, including Subway Massena, An Italian Affair, Coca-Cola and Reinhart Foods. A donation dish was also available, with all proceeds going to the Massena Volunteer Fire Department.
Both businesses opened their doors in the Massena community earlier this year. Premo’s Pizza & Subs is located at 2184 Route 420, Massena, and Fahrenheit at 4 Main St. in downtown Massena.