DuBOIS — The DuBois First United Methodist Church, as its members have since 2012, will host a free community meal on Thanksgiving Day.

The community dinner was started 10 years ago by former pastor, Lance Tucker, who had a heart to serve others, said Jean Cole, who is organizing the dinner along with Libby Shindledecker. It is being served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday at the church located at 100 W. Long Ave., downtown DuBois.

The impact on the community has been very positive, said Cole, noting people appreciate having a home-cooked meal and a place where they know they are welcome.

“Our goal is to serve members of our community and to demonstrate the love of Jesus,” said Cole. “First United Methodist Church has been blessed to have a commercial kitchen, and churches in DuBois are blessed to have volunteers who want to serve others. We want this dinner to be home-cooked and delicious, and we want to provide a welcoming and loving atmosphere.”

This year, the church will prepare 22 turkeys, use 125-140 pounds of potatoes for the mashed potatoes, 34 loaves of bread, 18 bunches of celery and nine 3-pound bags of onions for the stuffing, said Cole. The rest of the meal includes homemade gravy, corn, cole slaw, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert (pies and cakes), juice, water and coffee.

In the months leading up to the dinner, Shindledecker said letters are sent to area businesses about donations, and takeout orders from the prior year are confirmed to see if they are wanted again this year.

“I send out letters to the businesses and I added a line this year that just said that your donations mean more than ever now because the cost of food is so high that many people can’t afford the ingredients for a nice Thanksgiving dinner,” said Shindledecker.

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Next, sign-up sheets are put out in the church asking for donations of turkeys and desserts and for the loan of as many roasters as are needed.

And finally, calls are made to area churches asking for volunteers.

This year, Cole said they are expecting between 350 to 400 people to attend.

Perishable groceries are brought in on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, for the preparation of stuffing, potatoes, cole slaw, rolls and cranberry sauce. Non-perishables were purchased in early November.

Area businesses have been generous with donations, the organizers said.

Leftover turkey is made into soup and served at Wednesday night soup suppers at the church, Cole said.

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