LIMA — The holiday season is here and images of happy families, busy shoppers and perfect holiday dinners fill minds.
For those who are facing the holidays alone, they may feel as though they are the only ones without people to see and places to go. That’s not true. To curb those depressing holiday thoughts, local communities are hosting free holiday meals.
For the 12th consecutive year, Jerry Lewis and a host of volunteers will be giving thanks with local residents at the Lewis Family McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center, 7 Town Square, Lima. The meal is free and open to the public.
The dinner welcomes everyone in the community, including those whose relatives do not live in town, or those who simply want to fellowship with others in the community on Thanksgiving Day.
“We are preparing for 3,200 people,” said Ryan Lowery, marketing director for Jerry Lewis McDonald’s.
They will be preparing 800 pounds of turkey, 800 pounds of potatoes, 540 pounds of stuffing, 300 pounds of gravy, 200 pies and 24 pounds of whipped cream.
“This is your traditional Thanksgiving meal,” Lowery said.
With the number of people and the amount of food prepared, volunteers are needed to make the day run smoothly. The Lewis Family McDonald’s is accepting volunteers for its afternoon shift, from noon to 2:30 p.m. To sign up to volunteer, visit http://j.mp/1xEkc9Q or call 419-225-5916.
“We usually get 250 volunteers,” Lowery said.
While the emphasis in on food and fellowship, there are also other giveaways going on at this dinner.
“This originally started as just a dinner, but we had partners wanting to provide groceries and clothing. It’s been neat to see over the years,” Lowery said.
As in past years, each guest will be able to take home bags of groceries made possible from generous donations of local organizations including the Boy Scouts of Allen County, Childers Media Group and Save-A-Lot Food Stores.
Only Believe Ministries, in Botkins will bring clothing for guests to take with them, including pants, shirts, shoes, coats and hats. Guests will also have the opportunity to take home hygiene products provided by D&D Ingredient Distributors.
Other sponsors include Republic Services, Coca-Cola, New Horizons Baking Company, RightWay Food Service, Veteran’s Memorial Civic and Convention Center and Miller’s Textile Service.
There are several other local events to celebrate the holiday:
•Zion Lutheran Church will be hosting a community Thanksgiving meal from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the church located at 1300 Edgewood Drive, Lima. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and apple crisp will be served. The event is free and open to the public.
•ReStore Community Center and the Ada Lions Club have partnered to host a free Thanksgiving dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the ReStore Community Center, 210 N. Main St., Ada. The menu consists of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and homemade pies. The dinner is free and open to the public.
•Tri-R Guns, the Ron Deatrick Family and Friends at Trinity United Methodist Church in Ottawa are serving a free Thanksgiving Day Dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 137 N. Pratt St., Ottawa. This is open to all persons who otherwise would be alone on Thanksgiving Day and to families who would like a special place to celebrate together. There is no charge, but if you wish to you may donate canned food items for the Ottawa Food Pantry. Trinity is handicap accessible.
•The Wapakoneta Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at the St. Joseph Parish Life Center, 101 W. Pearl St., Wapakoneta, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. The menu consist of turkey and the trimmings. Carryouts will be available after 1 p.m.
•Mercer County Civic Foundation hosts three free Giving Thanks Dinners with turkey, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the following locations:Celina High School, 715 E. Wayne St., Celina; Coldwater American Legion, 601 N. Second St., Coldwater; and St. Marys High School, 2250 state Route 66, St. Marys
•For those who feel themselves needing to get their exercise before consuming their Thanksgiving meal, the 2016 Run 4 The Turkeys 5K takes place at 10 a.m. at the Ottawa Metro Park, 2632 Ada Road, Lima. Same day registration is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The top three overall, men and women, will each get a turkey. All age group winners will win a Turkey Pot Pie. For information, contact race director, Andrea DeVoe Ross at 419-995-1591 or send an email to [email protected]
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511