FOX CITIES, Wis. (WFRV)-Ask just about anybody and they’ll tell you a warm tasty meal and special people to eat that meal with are two ingredients for any successful Thanksgiving.
An organization in Menasha is making sure people in their community have both.
Christ the Rock Community Church had their annual Thanksgiving community meal at the Grand Meridian in Appleton.
“If it wasn’t for this meal and the community coming together, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving,” said Fred who came to the community meal with his family, his girlfriend, and his roommate.
Hundreds of volunteers joined church officials to make the community meal possible which include the dine-in meal at the Grand Meridian and mass deliveries of meals to people throughout the community.
The volunteers prepare thousands of meals, enough for 2,600 deliveries, and dine-in meals for between 500 and 1,000 people. Prep work begins at the start of the week to make sure there’s enough time to prepare this massive meal.
“This is my favorite event of the entire year, I’m blessed and I’d love to be able to bless other people as well,” said Ashley Dorsey who has volunteered at the community meal for about eight years.
Besides providing food for those in the community who need it, organizers said a major goal for the community meal is to make sure that nobody is alone on Thanksgiving.
Volunteers make an effort to strike up conversations with everybody who attends especially those people who attend alone.
“When you break bread with people, when you sit and have that opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation, that’s the real joy,” said Joyel Vanden Boogart who is with Christ the Rock Community Church.
“Some people are going through very difficult times some people lost people, so to be there for them and sit with them (is amazing),” said Dorsey.
Organizers told Local Five News that the community has grown since it first began twenty years ago, and continues to see significant growth over the last few years.
“COVID has really done a number on our people there is loneliness, mental health issues, lots of depression, these people need to know that they’re loved and valued,” said Vanden Boogart.
“They have a smile on their face, the joy of the Lord in them, and they (the volunteers) get to come and serve these meals,” she added.