Getting ready for the annual Jonesboro Community Thanksgiving Meal

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -For many, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and share a special meal.

But for others it's a lonely time-- made even worse when the money's not there for a big meal.

For years Jonesboro churches and hundreds of volunteers have brought joy to many at the annual Community Thanksgiving Meal.

For organizers the day before Thanksgiving is like herding cats as it all comes together for the big dinner.

Carving all the turkey and making sure all the food was coming in to the right place and taking names and addresses for home delivery make the day before Thanksgiving very hectic.

Taking orders for home deliveries, food preps, setting our lots of pie and cake and arrange the tables for quick serving is all part of the day before.

I caught up with Jim Grisham, one of the organizers at First United Methodist.

"Right now I know of 5 different churches that's cooking right now.. There's about 15 churches involved in this thing."

The day before is when the food begins its final journey from all the church and private kitchens all over town.

In the kitchen at First Baptist, Kim Stacy and her sister Jami Gibbs were slicing turkey, lots of turkey. About 460 pounds worth.

Stacy, "We start at six o'clock and it usually takes a good 4 to 5 hours to slice it all up. We shoot for right around a thousand we're up to a thousand 50 this year and it'll probably take every bit of it this year."

I asked Jim Grisham With the economy being the way it is do they anticipate a larger need this year?

"We never know depending on the economy the shape it's in we've got a lot of people calling in so we're just now getting the total numbers of what's called in and then we'll have a lot called in the morning."

And why were people calling in?

Over  at the First United Methodist Church, Volunteer Brenda Ferralesco is taking orders for meals that are going to be delivered.

Some are not sure they've got the right place when they call and a church answers.

"They just ask for Thanksgiving meals and I say yes this is the right place. We do get some large groups but most of them I say on the average would be for three people probably."

As meal time gets closer Jim Grisham told me how the take out works, like a well oiled machine.

"A platter for the food, a platter for the dessert, and a sack for the bread, put it all in a Wal-Mart sack and out the door they go with it."

The meal begins at 11 am at St. Bernard's Auditorium off Washington street. You can call for home delivery on Thanksgiving morning after 8 am. The number to call is 919-0669 and delivery is only for Jonesboro.

For Hoxie area residents they will be having their Thanksgiving dinner from 11 til 2 in the New Life Cathedral on Broad street.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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