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Jamestown Thanksgiving Dinner serves a record number of meals

The annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Concordia Lutheran Church served its capacity of 742 people Thursday.

The annual Thanksgiving dinner at Concordia Lutheran Church may have looked different than previous years but the volunteers came through with the traditional turkey and all the trimmings for the residents of Jamestown Thursday.

"Just because we are not serving inside, doesn't mean we can't serve outside," said Amy Neustel, one of the organizers of the meal.

Before they were done serving, a new record number of meals had been distributed, Neustel said.

In most years, the meal was served in the fellowship hall of Concordia Lutheran Church along with meals picked up or delivered. Last year, 2020, the meal was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, dispensing the meals was a drive-through process for people picking up meals, and delivered to people who had called in requesting meals. There was no dining in the church out of concern with the coronavirus.

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Putting the meals together took a group of 12 to 13 volunteers who worked as a well-oiled machine, according to Nayva Mulder, deaconess of Concordia Lutheran Church.

Mulder was adding the cranberry sauce to the estimated 400 meal boxes being prepared for the drive-through service.

For those wondering, the proper order for filling a Thanksgiving meal box calls for the turkey to be added first followed by, in order, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn before the box was handed off to another table for cranberry sauce and pumpkin bars.

The boxes were then handed from person to person up the stairs to the door of the church adjacent to the alley where the meals were distributed to a steady stream of cars waiting for their Thanksgiving meal.

For some, the meal at Concordia Lutheran Church was a long-term Thanksgiving tradition.

"This is the greatest thing they can do for the community," said Greg Lee.. "I have been alone for four or five years and it was nice to get together and talk."

Lee add that he missed the companionship of eating with others.

"The kids are all gone," said Jackie Truax, a first-time visitor to the Thanksgiving dinner. "No use for me to cook a big meal."

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Others thanked the organizers and volunteers that made the meal possible.

"I just want to say thanks," said Lynnette Krideman when asked her thoughts on the meal.

Organizers increased the amount of food prepared to a planned 700 servings. Previous years, preparations had been made for about 650 meals.

The volunteers surpassed those plans and actually served up 742 meals exceeding the number of meals served in any other year.

Volunteers delivered 318 meals with 424 meals picked up by the public.

"It is going OK," said Sue Corwin, one of the meal organizers. "Different but OK."

Corwin said she was sure people were missing the chance for fellowship by dining at the church.

"We hope to return to more normal next year," she said.

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