11/24 - Time: 12pm-2pm
Manna Soup Kitchen Free Thanksgiving Meal
As Thanksgiving approaches, Manna Soup Kitchen is gearing up to serve its annual dinner for people in need of a hot holiday meal. Organizers are seeking volunteers to prepare and serve or deliver the meals, and are asking homebound residents to call to request a free Thanksgiving dinner.
Carl Erickson, Manna board chairman, said the soup kitchen is adding Hatfield to the list of towns where it delivers. The list also includes Northampton, Easthampton and Williamsburg.
This is the fifth year Manna is providing the free meal, Erickson said. Before that, the Thanksgiving meal was served and delivered by Honor Court, a Northampton-based nonprofit that organized court-ordered community service projects for alcoholics. Honor Court served as many as 400 meals in the Edwards Church and delivered over 800 meals on Thanksgiving.
Erickson said that when Manna heard two weeks before Christmas in 2006 that Honor Court would not provide the holiday meal, the soup kitchen volunteered to take over.
"We were not as big of an operation as they were, though," he remembered of the first Christmas meal, which was attended by approximately 150 people. "And we only started being able to do deliveries again two years ago."
Last Thanksgiving, Manna served 126 in-house meals, provided 189 take-out meals and delivered 135 meals to homebound people.
This year the meal will be served in the downstairs fellowship hall at Edwards Church on Main Street in Northampton from noon until 2 p.m. or whenever the food runs out.
Erickson said the deliveries have "really picked up" since Manna was first able to offer the service in 2009. He said it is probably due more to the state of the economy than the increase in the number of communities where meals are delivered.
"With this recession dragging on, people are still having difficulties and maybe some of them don't have cars, in addition to those who are homebound for other reasons," he said.
Volunteers make the meal possible, Erickson said, and many come back to lend a hand every year as a kind of Thanksgiving tradition. He estimated it takes about 60 volunteers to put on the event every year.
Volunteers are needed Nov. 21, 22 and 23 to help prepare the meal and decorate the hall and serve and deliver meals. To volunteer click on the website below. Those wishing to help deliver meals can come to the State Street entrance of Edwards Church from 10 to 11 a.m.
Delivered dinners must be ordered by Nov. 22. To order, call 582-1312 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Leave a message with your name, address, town, the number of meals needed and a phone number so the order can be confirmed.
The meal usually requires 25 hams and turkeys, Erickson said, and roughly 10 roast pork loins. The pork is donated every year by Fitzwilly's restaurant in Northampton, but the soup kitchen is accepting donations of turkeys.
Turkeys can be dropped off at any of Manna's free meals: at Edwards Church Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and at St. John's Episcopal Church Mondays from noon to 1 p.m.
Event Website: www.signupgenius.com/go/508084aacae2fa57-thanksgiving
Location: Edward Church
Downstairs Fellowship Hall
To volunteer go to the website www.signupgenius.com/go/508084aacae2fa57-thanksgiving