The following is a press release issued by the Fort Bragg Presbyterian Church:
For the 27th year, the Fort Bragg Presbyterian Church will be hosting the annual free Community Thanksgiving Dinner for coastal residents from Westport to Albion. This year will see a welcome return to in-person dining, along with the continuation of the home delivery and curbside pickup options. (Reservations are required for all dinners.)
In 2020, the church, for the first time, had to close its dining room to comply with pandemic guidance requiring “distancing” to avoid the spread of COVID-19. The event continued—and set records for numbers of meals served—via home delivery and curbside pickup. This year, with the end of the public health emergency, those who wish to have dinner at the church are invited to reserve a seat in the dining room. There will be two seatings, at 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
In addition to dining at the church, at 367 S. Sanderson Way, those who prefer to enjoy their dinner at home have the option of having their meals delivered, beginning at 10 a.m., or picking them up, curbside at the church, between 11 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23).
This year’s Thanksgiving dinner will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, dinner roll, beverage, and pumpkin pie. Thanks to generous financial and in-kind donations from the business community and individuals, all meals are provided at no cost to recipients.
Reservations are required for all meals—those served at the church as well as those delivered or picked up. Reservations can be made online, at https://fbpchurch.org/2023-community-thanksgiving-dinner/, or by phone, at 707-964-2316, ext. 2 (church office; calls will be returned within 24 hours). All reservations must be received by the end of day Tuesday, Nov. 21.
The event is entirely volunteer-driven, with Printha Worthen and Kathy Hart partnering as co-directors this year. Volunteers are needed for a variety of duties, from food prep, packaging and meal service to cleanup and traffic control, between Monday, Nov. 20, and Thanksgiving afternoon. Volunteer delivery drivers, working in teams of two, also are needed to deliver meals to homes along the coast on Thanksgiving Day. Those interested in volunteering should visit the Community Thanksgiving Dinner webpage (https://fbpchurch.org/2023-community-thanksgiving-dinner/) for signup instructions and a list of the available shifts and duties.
Another way the community can participate is by donating “Dessert Dollars” through local businesses to ensure that each of the more than 1,000 meals served includes a traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Shoppers can add a dessert donation in any amount during checkout on their next trip to Harvest Market, in Fort Bragg, or Mendosa’s, in Mendocino, or they can place a dessert donation order through A Sweet Affair Patisserie’s online store (www.asweetaffairpatisserie.com/online-store). Students in the Fort Bragg High School Culinary Arts program will, again, participate in the dessert drive, this year committing to a contribution of 40 pumpkin pies.
Monetary donations are, of course, welcome—they help with the various costs of providing the many meals to our coastal community. You can donate online (click on the “Give Now” button on the event webpage, at https://fbpchurch.org/2023-community-thanksgiving-dinner/); mail your donation to the church; or drop your donation in the mail slot to the left of the church front door.
While the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner is organized and hosted by the Fort Bragg Presbyterian Church, it is a true community endeavor.
“There is no better place to feel the spirit of Thanksgiving than on the Mendocino Coast, where countless donors and dozens of volunteers of various faiths and from all walks of life come together in a heartwarming display of kindness, inclusion and gratitude,” said Worthen. “We have so much to be thankful for this year—not least of all, the opportunity for those who have so missed Thanksgiving dinner at a table with friends and neighbors to celebrate the holiday together again.”