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By Carmen Ensinger
For many families, there would be no Thanksgiving meal without the Bountiful Harvest Meal served on Thanksgiving Day in White Hall. Any Greene County resident is welcome to come to Seton Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to receive a free Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 25.
For the past 24 years, volunteers have given of their time to assure that others may have a hot meal on this day of Thanksgiving for all of the blessings we have received all year long.
Even COVID couldn’t prevent this day of Thanksgiving last year. In fact, COVID had just the opposite effect – COVID made the program grow even stronger.
“We had so many generous donations made last year that we had enough money left over that we are not in need of any donations this year,” Carrie Alexander said. “We have plenty of money left over from last year to cover all of our needs.”
While local churches usually make a monetary donation towards the cost of food, Alexander said in lieu of these monetary donations this year they are asking for something else.
“This year, we are asking for their help with cooking the turkey’s,” she said. “If each of the church could maybe cook two turkeys, we would be forever grateful. Or if they could maybe make a couple of desserts that would be great as well.”
Alexander said they usually cook around 20 turkeys and several large hams, though this year there might not be any ham.
“The food pantry picked up our hams for us in the past and they have said that they are having a hard time getting them right now,” Alexander said. “They haven’t been able to get any for several months now. So, whatever we can get is what we will be serving.”
The cooking will be done at both Seton Hall and Calvary Baptist Church but all of the serving will be done at Seton Hall. Alexander said plans are to have indoor dining this year.
“Our plan is to offer indoor dining as in the past, but we still don’t know that for sure yet – we will know more closer to the date,” she said. “That is the plan right now, but it all depends on COVID and how things are going, but as of right now we plan to, yes. Let’s just say we haven’t been told we can’t.”
They will also be making deliveries to shut-ins only. Those who wish to have their meal delivered should call in their order by Nov. 20. To reserve a meal, call the White Hall Library at 217-370-6014 and if no answer leave a message. Or, call the Senior Center at 217-942-6414 and leave a message.
They will also be doing drive-thru again this year or those who wish can come in and pick up meals to go. Last year, because of COVID, they did drive-thru only. Alexander said she is glad they don’t have to do that again this year.
“We had a little bit of trouble on the drive thru because it was our first time doing it and we were just not prepared to handle what we thought we were going to do,” she said. “So, this year we are just making individual meals again and the drive thru will be open or they can walk in and get their meal. But we hope we can have the dine-in for most of the meals.”
As for volunteers, Alexander said they can always use volunteers.
“We can always use more help and we will never turn anyone away,” she said. “We will need people all day on Wednesday beginning at about 10 a.m. and, of course, we always need help on Thursday delivering the meals and then help cleaning up, which will be from about 1 to 3 p.m.”
Anyone who wants to volunteer can call the White Hall Library at the number above.