St. Paul’s on P offers free Thanksgiving Day dinner
Turkey and all the trimmings available for takeout or delivery
TINA L. SCOTT
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, W2604 County Hwy. P, Merrill, is offering a free Thanksgiving Day dinner with all the trimmings, available for takeout or delivery on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, cranberries, squash, and pie. Advance registration is appreciated, especially for those needing delivery. For more information or to register, whether for pickup or delivery, call Joe at 715.297.4237.
“We started with an idea to give back to the community by offering a free Thanksgiving Day meal,” said Joe Schiefelbein, St. Paul Lutheran Church President. “I brought this idea up to the St. Paul’s Church Council and was given the go-ahead to put it together. We asked for donations from the congregation for the food items needed to be able to prepare meals or cash to be able to buy needed products in excess of the donations. The meals were dine-in, in the old school building that was torn down several years ago now. The first year we served around 75 meals. That was 11 years ago.”
“After the first year, we have always served over 150 meals, but last year we served 225 meals,” he said. “Unfortunately, we ran out of food and had to turn many people away, In fact, many of the volunteers did not even get any turkey!”
“This year, we have increased the amount of meals we are preparing for and are looking forward to feeding many hungry people on Thanksgiving Day,” Schiefelbein said.
He said they have received donations from Thrivent and Pine Ridge Restaurant, and individuals donate food and send money to help with the purchase of food items, from other congregations and even other cities. The event has also turned into more than just a St. Paul’s event. “Volunteers from not just our congregation, but other congregations, neighbors, and friends” and even “a family from Wausau helping with deliveries,” he said.
Schiefelbein describes the annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner as a “very worthy cause … showing God’s grace and bountiful goodness he has bestowed on us and sharing with those in need!”
“Our delivery drivers have come back with many stories of how the meals delivered are truly needed, how grateful the recipient was, and [it] made them happy that they could help out in that way!” he said.
Since 2013, up until last year, the church had served the meal in the newly-built Fellowship Hall. “However, last year, due to COVID-19, we were only allowed to have takeout or delivery with limited hours of 11:00 to 1:00, and it worked very well,” Schiefelbein said. “So well, in fact, that we are planning to do the same thing this year again!”