Whether they were serving up spoonfuls of hot yams or savoring the stuffing, those attending the LINK Community Thanksgiving Dinner said they were there just as much for the company as the food.
Stuffing was the favorite piece of Deon Willits’ meal. But the man, who says he is between homes right now, was just thankful to have a place to go for the holidays.
“For reasons that I can’t control, I couldn’t be with my family today,” Willits said. “But I am glad to be able to come out and get a good meal. And I’m glad these people are here.”
Donna Obenland, a widow with two children a thousand miles away, said she volunteers just as much for herself as for the dinner guests.
“I don’t like to be alone on Thanksgiving. I like to be around people,” she said.
Dishing out the yams, Obenland noticed those passing through the line were grateful for the food.
“I enjoy it,” she said.
Those piling up their plates did, too.
“Everything,” said William Davis when asked what his favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal was. Davis, who lives near Baldwin City, made the trip with Virginia Woods.
“There’s just the two of us and we want to be with friends, be with people,” Davis said.
The dinner was a community effort. Groups throughout the city signed up to make mashed potatoes; churches and the Roger Hill Youth Volunteer Corps made dozens of pies; and an anonymous donor wrote a check for the turkeys and downtown caterer Maceli’s cooked them. Even as guests gathered in the dinning room waiting for the meal to start, people came by dropping off extra food for the meal.
“I know there are caring people out there. We wouldn’t be able to do it without all the help and donations we get from the community,” LINK coordinator Greg Moore said.
Moore estimated that around 120 people came in for dinner Thursday.