Pouring rain, 40-50 mph wind gusts and a power outage were no match for Crescent City’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The outage plunged the main building at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds into darkness just before volunteers opened the doors, but that didn’t keep volunteers from dishing out turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other goodies. Many diners enjoyed their meal by cell phone flashlight and, later in the afternoon, by candlelight.

“The meal is wonderful,” said Cathy Woodard, a Crescent City resident who visited the annual event for the first time. “What did the pilgrims do back in the day that they had Thanksgiving? Candlelight or daylight, but this is so special.”

Woodard said she usually spends Thanksgiving with her family, but since her family either has to work or are out of town, she decided to head to the fairgrounds. Woodard said she and her girlfriends Donna Fisher and Kitty Hill decided to have someone else do the holiday cooking.

“And don’t have to worry about the cleanup,” she said.

More than 120 volunteers served about 600 meals on Thursday, said Roger Bodenstab, lead pastor at Crescent City Foursquare Church, which spearheaded the event along with Sutter Coast Hospital. With roughly 30 servings of turkey leftover, Bodenstab estimated volunteers served just over 500 people.

“When the power went out that was actually a good thing, I think, (because) people had no food,” he said. “Turkeys were still cooking. We had several people come out ‘we thought, where can we eat, oh yeah, there’s the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.’”

The lights came on at the fairgrounds at about 1:15 p.m., Bodenstab said.

Melinda Anderson was one of several volunteers who supplied diners with candles. As a social worker, Anderson said she works with families and sees their struggles on a daily basis.

“I try to talk to my kids about counting our blessings and everything like that,” she said.

Keosha Williams said for her family, which includes her husband Jeffrey Brent and their five children, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner has been a true blessing.

Williams came to Crescent City with her family from Redding after losing everything in the Carr Fire. She found a job with Addie Meedom House. She said her husband is also searching for work and, after being in Crescent City for about a month, they’re still trying to find a place to live. Williams said she and her family are currently living in a motel.

“This is even more of a blessing too that they’re able to come together and allow the whole community to be a part of this,” Williams said of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. “Especially when you have people that don’t have ovens and things, you can experience that.”

Williams said she usually spends Thanksgiving with her mother and father singing songs, saying what they’re thankful for and being grateful for one another.

“I was feeling kind of sad (thinking) ‘man, I wish we were with our family’ ‘cause my dad usually makes the sweet potato pie and I miss that,” she said. “(But) there’ll be one in the mail.”

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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