St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to host 9th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner
While things will be done a bit differently this year due to safety precautions related to the pandemic, the ongoing tradition of an annual holiday dinner hosted by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will continue this year, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.
As church congregation president Joe Schiefelbein explains, the roots of the event date back to the summer of 2011.
“During a meeting of the council, we were discussing ideas of how we could do more to give back to the local community than taking in. The idea came up to not only organize and host a Thanksgiving dinner, but actually do it on Thanksgiving. There are other similar events in the area, but most occur before Thanksgiving. We felt hosting the dinner on Thanksgiving Day would be something we could that would be unique,” he adds.
The church council followed through with the idea and hosted the first Thanksgiving Dinner the following November, which drew about 25 volunteers and served approximately 65 community members. As time went on and word traveled of the event, the turnout continued to increase each year; peaking at 275 in 2018.
“We were quite pleased to have such an amazing turnout that year, we were kept pretty busy,” Schiefelbein said.
“The church hall was full and we were sending out orders via delivery and carry out. The numbers have fluctuated since, but I would say we average over two-hundred dinners served each year.”
Carryout and delivery will remain available for this year’s event, however in observance of safety precautions, dinners will not be served on-site at the church hall. Instead, Schiefelbein and other volunteers will have a drive-thru system in place.
Visitors are asked to drive up to the sheltered area on the east-side of the church to place their order, then take a left after exiting the drive-up shelter to a set of double doors, where volunteers will deliver their order. Other volunteers will be taking the orders from the drive-up, to the kitchen inside the church and preparing each dinner.
This year, the St. Paul’s team is prepared to serve up to 400 dinners.
Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Paul’s will once again consist of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. Dinner will be served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information or to place orders for delivery, Joe Schiefelbein can be contacted at (715) 297-4237. Dinners are served free of charge, but free-will donations are always welcomed.