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Local Nonprofit Organizations Offer Community Dinners So No Tummy Goes Hungry on Thanksgiving Day

by Madison V. Fisler

Nov. 21, 2013. The Thanksgiving holiday brings to mind images of family gatherings, a huge spread of delicious food and watching football games after the holiday feast. 

imgres-2But for some in the High Country, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is celebrated sparingly, or not at all. To keep hungry tummies at bay, nonprofit organizations in the High Country are taking it upon themselves to make sure that everyone in need in the area can enjoy a hot meal on Thanksgiving, and have something to be thankful for. 

The Hospitality House of Boone will utilize its “Bread of Life” community kitchen to prepare a community dinner, dubbed The Meal of Thanks. This community meal will provide 15o hungry bellies with a Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day to ensure that nobody goes hungry this holiday.

“It will be a traditional thanksgiving meal with roasted and fried turkeys, dressings, gravies, mashed potatoes, potato salad and everything else,” said Allison Jennings, food service coordinator for the Hospitality House.

“We have residents who stay here and I like to go up to the ones that like to cook and invite them into the kitchen to make a dish. They feel like they are participating in providing and having their own traditional Thanksgiving.”

The Hospitality House serves hundreds of meals throughout the year, but this one in particular is special.

“It gives us time to reflect and think about the things that we are thankful for,” said Jennings. “We are a family here, and we try to remind ourselves of that every single day. If we didn’t do a tradtional meal at this special time, we wouldn’t be acknowledging that on one of the most important days to celebrate family.”

In order to reach all who need help this holiday, the Hospitality House has created a list of items that it needs. These items can be donated to the Hospitality House of Boone to help meet the needs of the community.

  • One block of Velveeta cheese product
  • Eight pounds of butter
  • One gallon of orange juice
  • Five boxes of tea bags
  • French Fried Onion Rings
  • 10 pounds of frozen broccoli
  • Six gallons of cooking oil
  • One bag of shredded coconut
  • Twenty pounds of granulated sugar
  • One quart of Miracle Whip spread
  • Two quarts of Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • Five bags of miniature marshmallows
  • Three pounds of chopped nuts
  • One container of poultry seasoning
  • Five cans of pineapple chunks
  • Two jars of cherries
  • 16 ounces of raisins
  • Five bags of cranberries
  • Five pounds of onions
  • Two pounds of celery

The Hospitality House of Boone is located at 338 Brook Hollow Road in Boone. To donate items or to get more information about the Thanksgiving meal, call 828-264-1237.

The Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone will also be working to provide Thanksgiving meals to all who need them. The annual Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at First Baptist Church on King Street from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

For more than 20 years, volunteers have dished out hot meals to hundreds of hungry diners, and this year the meal will come from Woodland’s Barbecue, Makotos and The Speckled Trout. 


“This is a reunion of sorts,” said Compton Fortuna, executive director of the Hunger and Health Coalition.

“We get to pull together different resources from the community and we get wonderful volunteers that come every year. It’s a lot of fun.”

And if you can’t stay for the Thanksgiving meal, that’s okay! 

“We serve the meal in the church, but we also allow people to get to-go meals or delivery. If anyone wants a meal delivered, just call and we will add them to the list!”

Those who wish to help out with the meal are encouraged to donate a dessert; cakes, pies, cookies or even brownies.

“We never seem to have enough desserts,” said Fortuna. “It would be nice to have lots to go around.” 

First Baptist Church is located at 375 West King Street. To volunteer or for more information, please call 828-262-1628.