Churches to serve free Thanksgiving dinner

Helena Rodriguez

Central Christian and St. Helen Catholic Church have joined forces to host a free community Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Memorial Building.
Organizers say the traditional Thanksgiving meal is not only being served for the needy and home-bound. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend, particularly those who don’t have anyone to share this holiday meal with.
Elvia Garcia, secretary at St. Helen’s, said this can also include Eastern New Mexico University students who are away from their families or military spouses living in 801 housing whose loved ones are serving in Iraq.
“It is a meal for people to come together as a family,” said Garcia, who noted that about 350 people are expected to attend.
“We hope to provide that family atmosphere, with a fully cooked meal and all,” said Veda Urioste, a member of the Thanksgiving dinner committee.
For the past seven years, St. Helen’s has sponsored a free Thanksgiving dinner, but is holding it in conjunction with Central Christian Church this year. Several area businesses have donated food for the dinner.
“We are going to serve those who don’t have a place to go, those who don’t have company to share it with,” said Joe Parie of Central Christian, a member of the Thanksgiving dinner committee.
“No one will be turned away,” Urioste added.
The dinner will begin with a prayer by representatives of both churches and entertainment will be provided. In addition, Parie said tables will be festively decorated for the occasion.
Carry out meals will be available and meals will be delivered to the elderly, shut-ins and people who cannot make it to the Memorial Building. Meal orders should be placed at Central Christian at 356-6001 or St. Helen’s at 356-4241 by noon on Wednesday. In addition, several senior citizens centers are gathering names of people needing meals delivered as well as fire men throughout Roosevelt County, who will be delivering meals in Dora, Elida, Floyd, Causey and other places as needed. Parie said the goal is to have all meals delivered by 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
Parie said several vans are also available to provide rides to the Memorial Building on Thursday. People needing rides should notify one of the two churches before Wednesday at noon.
“We don’t want anyone to go without a Thanksgiving dinner,” Urioste said.
Parie said many volunteers have stepped up to help prepare, deliver and serve the Thanksgiving meals.
“A lot of families have come forward to help as well,” Garcia said. “This is how they are going to spend their Thanksgiving. And for others, they plan to help with the meal at noon and then have their own family dinner at home later.”
Volunteers wanting to help with the Thanksgiving dinner need only show up at the Memorial Building. Parie said they will be there from 7 a.m. and stay there until they have finished cleaning up after the dinner, which ends at 2 p.m.