Community volunteers spent Thanksgiving morning at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, packaging meals for delivery to 90 people on Bainbridge Island and setting up a banquet for those unable to have dinner with family.
Laura Van Dyke, an events team volunteer for the community holiday feast, said Thanksgiving dinner is difficult to make and was the reason why the group came together originally a couple of years ago to provide meals during the pandemic.
Community leaders; Reed Price from the BI Senior Center, Joanne Maher from Island Volunteer Caregivers, Mary Madison from BI Sportsman’s Club and Van Dyke planned the dinner with financial assistance from Puget Sound Energy and the Sportsman Club.
“We’ve been delivering meals for two years, and this is the first year that we are giving people the choice of either having a meal delivered, or a dining option,” Van Dyke said.
For the first time since COVID they offered in-person dining in Conger Hall where they expected 30 people for the noon meal.
The tables were decorated with fall flowers, cards of thanks and words of encouragement made by school students.
Restaurants donated food: Hitchcock and Seabird provided sweet potatoes and gravy, Via Rosa made roasted vegetables, BIMA Bistro made cranberry sauce and Sweet Dahlia Bakery created the stuffing.
Last year, 180 Thanksgiving meals were delivered. Van Dyke said the numbers are down, but the need still exists. “120 meals is a pretty significant need that we’re guessing may continue year-to-year. We’re grateful and hopeful that more people are able to join their families and friends for their holiday, but I think this has been filling a gap due to COVID,” Van Dyke said.