Jennifer Hollenbeck uses wooden dowels to squeeze mashed potatoes out of a bag held by Jeff Sparks during the 2018 Community Fellowship Dinner on Thanksgiving. Volunteers are needed for this year’s event, which is Thursday, Nov. 28 in the Hermiston High School commons.

HERMISTON — A tradition that was first served up three decades ago to provide a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal to those who might otherwise be alone for the holiday continues to grow.

Gary Humphreys, Community Fellowship Dinner board chairman, said more than 700 people enjoyed the 2018 Thanksgiving feast. A holiday meal ministry, anyone in the community who wants to eat is welcome to attend.

“The board’s number one priority goal is to provide a good meal,” Humphreys said. “The quality of this Thanksgiving meal is really good.”

The first of two holiday season meals is Thursday, Nov. 28 — Thanksgiving Day — from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the main commons at Hermiston High School, 600 S. First St. Also, people can make arrangements to get a ride or to schedule meal delivery.

With the turkeys already ordered and arrangements made for pies, potatoes and vegetables, Humphreys turns his attention to volunteers. Calling them the driving force behind the effort, he gets a little nervous as the days tick by.

The meal requires upward of 150 volunteers. People are needed to do everything from meal preparation, packaging to-go meals and setting up the venue to greeting people, serving diners and meal delivery. Volunteers generally work a one-hour shift.

The sooner people express an interest in helping, the wider variety of jobs and time slots are available, Humphreys said. There are tasks available for all age groups.

The set-up party is Wednesday, Nov. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. On Thanksgiving Day, a number of volunteers are needed before the meal as well during the serving hours. Also, people are needed afterward to help with cleanup.

A nonprofit organization, Humphreys was excited to report the Community Fellowship Dinner had no outstanding debt after last season’s meals. That was possible, he said, due to generous donations and discounts provided by several area vendors as well as financial support provided by individuals, churches and area businesses.

“We don’t care what a person’s income is. This meal is for everyone,” Humphreys said. “People come in and they are seated and they don’t get up for anything. We serve them.”

Additional information is available on the organization’s Facebook page. To volunteer, to schedule meal delivery or arrange a ride, contact 541-371-9772 or cfdhermiston@gmail.com. Also, financial contributions for the meal ministry can be sent to Community Fellowship Dinner, P.O. Box 1551, Hermiston, OR 97838.


Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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