BUCKHANNON – Let’s talk turkey.
If you’re too tired to cook one, if you don’t have friends or family in town with whom to share slices of the big bird or if you simply can’t afford all the fixins’ that come with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, don’t fret.
Whatever your reason for not preparing a Thanksgiving meal of your own, you can be thankful this Thursday that the Buckhannon-Upshur community has not one – but two – free community Thanksgiving meals.
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church’s annual community Thanksgiving meal will be served at 6 p.m. in the church’s Engle Hall.
Chapel Hill’s secretary Diane Kimble said the sit-down dinner buffet gets underway with grace, followed by food and fellowship.
“We’ll have your traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, stuffing, desserts, iced tea and coffee and hot rolls,” Kimble said Tuesday.
“It’s a free will offering, but if you can’t pay, come anyways,” she added. “We don’t want that to stop anyone from coming.”
The dinner came about approximately seven or eight years ago when Kimble got to thinking about the weekly Wednesday dinner Chapel Hill provides.
“We decided to do this instead of the Wednesday night dinner because I knew that on Thanksgiving Day, there were people in the community who would not have a Thanksgiving dinner if we didn’t do that,” she said. “It makes it nice for people to be able to have dinner with someone else instead of alone.”
The dinner also benefitted event volunteers who had the means to pay for a turkey and all the trimmings.
“For some of the people who helped – and they could actually afford any meal whatsoever – coming here and volunteering connected them with the community,” she said.
Kimble is expecting about 75-100 people this year.
“I just think that it’s a good way of showing that just because you don’t have a big family or just because it’s not something you traditionally do – or that you can even afford – you can still have a nice Thanksgiving meal and have fellowship with other people,” she said.
Chapel Hill UM Church is located at 88 S. Kanawha St.
If you prefer to get your fill of fowl earlier in the day, Audrey’s Downtown Restaurant is serving a free Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Audrey Goins, general manager, said.
Goins is overseeing restaurant operations for her daughter, owner Audrey Posey, who’s currently on medical leave.
Posey wants to continue a tradition Goins started 25 years ago at the original Audrey’s Downhome Restaurant, Goins said Tuesday.
“It’s just about giving back to our customers,” Goins told My Buckhannon. “My business took off right away. I had so many loyal customers. I had older people who ate three meals a day there, and over the years, we’ve lost a lot of really close customers.”
Although the dinner is open to anyone who’s hungry for food or fellowship, the dinner is a customer appreciation event, Goins said.
“It’s for everyone,” she added.
So, what’s on the menu? Attendees can expect turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, hot rolls and pumpkin pie.
“We normally feed close to 300,” Goins said. “And we take about 70-80 dinners over to the high rise, and then if we have leftovers, we bring them to the police and firefighters on duty.”
Audrey’s Downtown Restaurant is located at 38 N. Kanawha St. Freewill offerings will be accepted.