Community invited to Thanksgiving feast
For the fifth year in a row, Gena and Rick Westra will be rolling up their sleeves to prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner to many people in the Quincy community.
The Quincy Thanksgiving feast is about community for the Westras. Thanksgiving dinner is about people sitting down and eating together in a spirit of friendship and togetherness, they said.
“For me, I love feeding people,” Gena said. “When we first started this, we started seeing we were feeding lonely people or people who didn’t have families and seniors.”
The community Thanksgiving dinner started in 2010 when Gena had an idea. She explained to Pastor Jess Slusher that she wanted to start a soup kitchen, but the project was not feasible. So she then decided to offer people a Thanksgiving feast.
For the first three years, the community Thanksgiving feast was held at the Quincy Senior Center. Last year the event was moved to The Grainery. Gena and her team of volunteers prepared enough food for 300 people and ended up serving 150.
“Some that come can afford the meal, but they just want to have a meal with other people,” Rick said. “Last year a guy came and he ended up just staying and relaxed in a chair.”
This year’s dinner includes all the traditional favorites, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and candied yams. And don’t forget green beans and fresh-baked dinner rolls. The main course will be followed by pie for dessert.
The Westras emphasize that the Thanksgiving meal is free even though it is served in the restaurant. Last year some people were confused as to whether they needed to pay, Gena said.
However, donations are welcome; donations will be given to Serve Quincy and the Quincy Food Bank to help the two organizations with their efforts.
“Last year, some people insisted on donating money for the dinner,” Gena said. “We put out a can for donations.
The free Community Thanksgiving feast will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 26 at The Grainery, 101 E St. S.E.
For more information, or if interested in volunteering, call the restaurant at 797-7240.
Volunteers who are interested in helping but cannot help on Thanksgiving Day may come the evening before – 6 p.m. on Nov. 25 – to help with prep work.
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor