The holiday season is nearly upon us, and with Thanksgiving just ahead, that means the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner is also near.

This year will mark the 36th the service is being offered in the Hiawatha area, featuring the option of delivery or joining others for a Thanksgiving lunch at the First Baptist Church on Thursday, Nov. 22.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is once again being sponsored by the Melster family and the First Baptist Church. The dinner was started by the Melster family, and was originally held at the family’s Maple Leaf Restaurant. The idea was sparked when the restaurateurs began to notice a growing number of people eating alone during the holidays, and expanded when the Melsters first paired with the First Baptist Church.

The event has grown through the years, as donations and volunteers have multiplied over time, with last year’s dinner serving over 300 members of the community. Donations go directly toward purchasing food for the dinner, with any extra funds being passed on to other community needs yearly. Volunteers are needed to help in preparing, serving and delivering the food, as well as greeting community members and cleaning up afterward.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving day at the church, while deliveries will be made from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This year, all turkeys will be prepared by Steve Roberts at the Country Cabin, but homemade pumpkin pies are still needed.

Volunteers and contributions are needed to make the dinner a success with a goal of $3,000 set for this year. Both can be done on the church’s website at www.fbchiawatha.org. Also go to the website to make reservations for the dinner.

Extra funds will go toward Christmas food baskets for families registered through the Brown County Christmas Store, Brown County Food Banks and Karla’s Diaper Closet.

Contact the church at 742-3423 or by email at admin@fbchiawatha.org with questions.

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