While others unveiled garlands of autumn leaves and lay cornucopias and turkey centerpieces row upon row of tables Wednesday morning, Anne and Craig Swanson waited for 108 pumpkin pies to defrost.
“They’re frozen solid,” Anne said.
The Swansons have volunteered at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner since 2001, doing every job imaginable from wrapping flatware to serving drinks to bringing people to the dinner or taking meals to those who can’t get there. Volunteering at the dinner has become a tradition for them since they moved to Crescent City about 17 years ago, they say, especially since their family lives far away.
On Wednesday, in addition to waiting for the pies to defrost so they could be cooked and sliced, the Swansons laid out trays for cranberry sauce.
“It’s fun and it’s really good to have the community come together and all eat,” Anne said.
Roughly 130 volunteers are expected to serve drinks and food, cook, bus tables and clean on Thursday, said Roger Bodenstab, lead pastor at Crescent City Foursquare Church. This includes Sutter Coast Hospital staff who will prepare enough turkey dinners for about 300 people, he said.
Though there are only about 10 volunteer slots left for those wishing to serve food, Bodenstab said anyone else who wanted to chip in can just show up at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. There is also a need for people to help clean when the Thanksgiving dinner is over, he said.
The Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from noon-2 p.m. Thursday in the main building at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds.
This year, in addition to serving meals, Sutter Coast Hospital and Foursquare Church are collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items for the local food bank, Bodenstab said.
The dinner has been a tradition in Crescent City for about 27 years, serving more than 800 meals some years. It was initially spearheaded by Teri Sandler and Beverly Young, who contacted businesses, collected donations and purchased anything else that was needed, until about two years ago when Sutter Coast Hospital took it over.
A year ago volunteers served an estimated 350 dinners, Bodenstab told the Triplicate last year.
For more information about the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, visit www.ccfoursquare.org/community-thanksgiving-at-the-fairgrounds. People can also find information about the event on Facebook, Bodenstab said.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at email@example.com .