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Massena, Potsdam hosting community Thanksgiving feasts

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MASSENA — Last year, the St. Vincent de Paul Society served about 325 Thanksgiving meals. This year, organizers are anticipating similar numbers.

“It’s hard to tell, but I don’t think it’s going to be any less,” said Martha Slack, who organizes the meal on behalf of the society.

Massena’s meal will again be hosted at the VFW on West Hatfield Street from noon to 3 p.m.

“It’s open to anyone,” Ms. Slack said.

The meal is free and transportation to the site is available for people who can’t get there on their own. To arrange for a ride, call the VFW on Thursday at 769-3434.

Take-outs will also be available.

“I’m sure we get people who can’t afford to put on a meal, but we also get a lot of people who just don’t want to be alone and are looking for company,” Ms. Slack said.

The meal will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing and desserts.

“It’s everything there should be at a Thanksgiving dinner,” she said, adding most of the food for the feast is donated through the community’s Catholic churches.

In addition to all those who donated food to make the meal happen, Ms. Slack also said there is a large team of volunteers involved.

“Between Wednesday and Thursday, I would say there’s 100 volunteers,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without the volunteers.”

In Potsdam, the Trinity Episcopal Church will host a meal in the parish hall.

The Thanksgiving feast for them though, is simply an extension of their free-will dinner program that continues all throughout the year.

“We do it every month, but this is a special version,” Father Christopher Brown said. “We do it up big for Thanksgiving.”

Father Brown said the church served between 60 and 80 meals last year and he’s expecting a similar number again, but if more people show up that’s OK.

“We’ll take all comers,” he said. The folks who typically come struggle to put food on the table or don’t have families to celebrate the holiday with.”

Potsdam’s dinner also would not be possible if it wasn’t for a team of volunteers cooking, serving and cleaning up after the meal.

“We get a lot of college kids who come out and some of our parishioners too,” he said, estimating there’s approximately 20 volunteers involved.

While donations will be accepted, Father Brown stressed the meal is free and donations are not expected.

He also said he wanted people to be aware that this year’s dinner is being held earlier than they have been in the past.

“In the past it’s been a bit later,” he said.

This year’s meal will be served from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Father Brown also noted the church will host its annual Thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

The menu will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, vegetables, rolls, cranberry sauce and pie for dessert.

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