Community Thanksgiving dinner a big success

14 years ago

Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
NE-StMaryThnks1-dclr-pt-48CLEAN-UP CREW — Evan Berube and his sister Katherine pitched in to help clean up after the community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Mary’s in Houlton that fed 120. In back, from left, are volunteers Judy Reid, Margaret Casey and Melissa Berube. Reid and Casey have been organizing and preparing the dinner for more than a decade. Berube, a first-time volunteer, brought her children to the event sponsored by donations.

By Elna Seabrooks
Staff Writer
    HOULTON — They are the first ones in and the last ones out. They are the volunteers who plan, prepare serve and clean up after the big open-house community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Mary’s.
    “Things went exceptionally well. I’d say we had the biggest crowd we ever fed — over 120. We prepared for 150 and there were goodie bags to take home. Most took home at least one dinner,” said chief organizer Margaret Casey.
    Volunteer Judy Reid, who has also been a key player in the tradition that started more than a decade ago, agreed that the event was a success. “I think it was our best year and people realized it is not income-based which we have tried to stress. If you are low-income, that’s fine. It’s for people who are going to be alone or people who just are not able to make a big dinner anymore for themselves. And, we have several families like that. It’s great.” Reid’s daughter Angel and her granddaughter Makayla set up the tables and did the decorating.
    The dinner is a two-day event for the cooks and volunteers who prepared the turkeys, ham, choice of vegetables with all the trimmings and the various desserts. The event is paid for by donations from parishioners and the church’s Social Justice and Peace Commission.
    First-time volunteer Melissa Berube brought her young children, Katherine and Evan who also helped. Instead of going up north to visit with family on both sides of the border, she said she felt it was necessary to volunteer this year.
    When Casey was asked what’s next, she replied: “Advil.”
    Reid: “You’re laughing, Elna. But, she’s telling the truth.”
    Casey: “I’m going home, take some Advil and probably watch a movie and just chill out with the family.
    My whole family was here. And, we’re doing it again at my house on Saturday because my brothers will come with their families — 10, 15, 20, whoever shows up. I love to cook it’s a passion.”