DURYEA — Thanksgiving comes early this year with the Second Annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner.
The event is being held by the Duryea Police Department and Crime Watch Organization and will take place Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Germania Fire Hose Co.
Police chief Nick Lohman said, although this is the second year for the event, the idea came up many years prior.
“I wanted to do it four or five years ago just to have a community dinner thing,” he said. “Originally, it was for the people that didn’t have family to cook them a dinner and they could have dinner here, but it’s for everyone in the surrounding area. We want to give everyone a nice dinner free of charge.”
Lohman said the event last year was coordinated within a few short weeks. Despite the tight schedule, over 50 people attended and over 100 Thanksgiving dinners were prepared.
All the food is donated by local restaurants and establishments.
“My Sister’s Kitchen in Duryea is donating stuffing and we’re not really preparing everything; we’re just having it brought to us and then we’re serving it,” said Lohman. “Gerrity’s Supermarket is going to assist us by cooking, cutting and preparing the turkeys for us and they will donate that to us as well. We’re getting a lot of help from a lot of different businesses.”
The turkeys are all paid for by the Family Prescription Counter, Duryea.
Other donated foods from Duryea establishments include mashed potatoes from Town Tavern as well as vegetables and bacon macaroni and cheese from AuRants.
Lohman said the police department, crime watch members and cadets from local police academies attend the event to serve the dinners.
“We don’t cook anything, we just put it together,” he said. “We have all the stuff to plate it, put it together and we’ll serve the people in attendance. We’ll have desserts, as well, from Bimbo Bakeries.”
The dinner is free of charge, but registration is required so organizers know how many dinners to serve.
The event is open to everyone in surrounding areas, and Lohman said over 50 people have already registered.
He said 100 dinners will be made in preparation with more made if needed. Any food not eaten will be donated to local VFWs, American Legions, soup kitchens or other establishments.
“We figure we’re going to do 100 to 200 dinners,” he said. “But we don’t want to have too much, so we prepare for about 100 dinners and, if we need more, we’ll make more.”