Plans cooking for annual community thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving sits just around the corner, and while many people have plans to spend the day with loved ones and a home-cooked meal, not everyone has that privilege.
Thanks to Jim and Star Kemling as they continue their tradition of a community Thanksgiving dinner in Grant, that privilege is available to anyone in town.
Before the Kemlings took over hosting the meal, Bob and Deeann Tatum ran the community meal for many years.
After the Tatums were no longer able to host the dinner, there was a break before anyone took over the job of organizing the event. The Kemlings decided to fill that role for the community.
“We saw that there was a need for it,” Star said. “Everybody agreed, they saw the need was there to keep this going. A lot of people are alone for Thanksgiving.”
In 2016, Jim and Star kickstarted the community dinner once more and had a turnout of 75 people who came to indulge in a hot Thanksgiving meal.
In 2017, just under 100 people attended the meal, and in 2018 Star estimates that over 140 people came to enjoy Thanksgiving as a community.
The event typically has plenty of volunteers who come to help serve the home-cooked dinner including children, teenagers and adults over the years.
“It has been fun to get to know people through this that we didn’t know very well before,” Star commented.
The volunteering doesn’t stop with preparing and serving food the day of the event, though that is a large part of what the volunteer work entails.
People who cannot help on Thanksgiving have donated their time by helping cook turkeys the evening before the meal.
Hatch’s grocery store is also a big help, as they donate all of the turkeys. They provided nine turkeys last year, which were served alongside a spiral ham.
Since it is a free dinner, Hatch’s donations as well as aid from the Grant Chamber and monetary donations from Grant residents help keep the dinner going each year and keep the costs down.
Along with providing dinner to those who attend the meal, the Kemlings deliver meals to those who are unable to leave their homes and travel.
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