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A truly warm feast; N. Brookfield has Thanksgiving meal for all.

Byline: Bonnie Russell

NORTH BROOKFIELD - Shelley Fullam takes seriously the Biblical injunction from Hebrews chapter 13, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

So Mrs. Fullam and co-organizer Bonni Holmes want the whole community to come for Thanksgiving dinner.

The 9th annual community Thanksgiving dinner will be held at noon Nov. 27 at the First Congregational Church, 144 North Main St. This is not limited to North Brookfield residents. All are welcome at this free dinner.

The women each thought a Thanksgiving dinner was a good way to reach out to the community and decided to put their thoughts into action, Mrs. Fullam said.

"Both of us have a heart for people who would be spending Thanksgiving Day alone. We want them to have fellowship, to laugh and eat with others," Mrs. Fullam said.

The menu includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, gravy, peas with pearl onions, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie.

Most of the food is prepared in the church kitchen, but the ovens will only hold four turkeys, so members of the church and the community cook turkeys at home and drop them off on Thanksgiving Day in time to be carved and served at the dinner, Mrs. Fullam said.

Last year, about 100 people were served, up from about 50 the first year the dinner was held, Mrs. Holmes said.

With the exception of the butternut squash, gelatin molds and pies, everything is cooked on Thanksgiving Day, according to Mrs. Holmes.

"I have a whole team of women who come in the day before to prepare the butternut squash," Mrs. Holmes said.

Pies are baked by volunteers from the congregation and the community. David Holmes and Stanley Arnold, along with other volunteers, are the chefs on Thanksgiving Day.

More volunteers deliver meals to those who are unable to make it to the dinner, and others provide transportation to any in need of a ride.

The meal is served family style, which gives folks the opportunity to pass the dishes around and experience the give and take that comes with sharing food and conversation around the Thanksgiving dinner table in a home, Mrs. Fullam said.

Another thing that the organizers want the guests to experience is the opportunity to eat leftovers the next day. All are given the opportunity to take home leftovers for another meal. Even those who receive a delivered dinner are given enough for two meals.

"It is our goal to make sure that they have two full meals," Mrs. Fullam said. She added that each delivered meal includes a whole pie.

Some of the proceeds from the Christmas Fair are used as startup money to purchase the turkeys and other items each year, and the rest comes from donations, Mrs. Fullam said.

"We have always had enough," she added.

"One year a man stopped by and gave Shelley $100 to use for the dinner. He was a complete stranger who had heard about the meal and wanted to help," Mrs. Holmes said.

For more information, to accept this invitation to dinner or to arrange for transportation or delivery, call Mrs. Fullam at (508) 867-7686 or Mrs. Holmes at (508) 867-8022.

For planning purposes, Mrs. Fullam asks the people try to call by Nov. 23. But last-minute arrivals won't be turned away..

The most important aspect of the event is that people come, Mrs. Fullam said.

"From wherever you are, if you're just passing through, come. We want you to be part of the fellowship," Mrs. Fullam said.


CUTLINE: (1) Above, chefs Stan Arnold, Dave Holmes and Kristin Arnold carving one of the many home-cooked turkeys at the Thanksgiving feast last year. Inset, from left, organizers Bonni Holmes and Shelley Fullam prepare home-delivered meals.

Event Organizers Bonni Holmes and Shelley Fullam preparing home-delivered meals. (2) Shelley Fullam, serving pie with helper Cassidy Cogeshall at last year's dinner.

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 13, 2008
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