Anyone who finds themselves alone on Thanksgiving or is in need of a free feast is invited to stop by Faith Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids.
Meals of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, bread, pie and other traditional Thanksgiving dishes will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.
Reservations are required and the deadline to get your name in is Monday, Nov. 21. To reserve a seat, call 763-354-7826. You will be asked to provide your name, phone number, number of people attending, and your preferred seating time.
If you are unable to drive to the church yourself and would like to be brought to the church or have a meal delivered to you, call 763-354-7827.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help serve or deliver meals should visit Faith Lutheran Church’s website, http://www.faithlutherancr.org and click on the link for Faith’s Thanksgiving Dinner.
Faith Lutheran Church, 11115 Hanson Blvd. NW, has opened its doors to Anoka County residents for this Thanksgiving feast for more than 30 years. There’s no target group and it doesn’t matter what your income or age is.
“We’ve never turned anyone away,” said Jayne Brinkman, who worked with Vern Chandler, Laura Landes, Lisa Partyka, Karry Udvig and Roma Vasseur to organize this year’s meal.
“Our main focus is to provide meals and a warm environment,” she said.
The typical year recently has been about 130 volunteers working to feed more than 300 people. As much as they are able to, they will deliver meals to people unable to drive themselves or find other transportation to the church. They served about 20 people this way last Thanksgiving, according to Brinkman.
On a personal note, Brinkman loves that this became a fun volunteer opportunity for her family.
“My husband and three kids really jumped on board and really like doing it, so it has become one of my favorite holidays because of doing this tradition and being able to meet other people in the community and just being involved,” she said.
The food is paid for thanks to generous donations made from local businesses and members of Faith Lutheran Church. Brinkman said there was a three-dimensional paper turkey in which each feather had an item that was needed for the dinner. They also received donations from Jensen’s Foods, Costco, Wal-Mart and Thrivent Financial, Brinkman said.
Church members have also been collecting hats, mittens and scarves to donate to people who could use these winter accessories.
Leftovers will not go to waste. Faith Lutheran Church is part of the network of 17 churches in Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Ham Lake and Ramsey that rotate as shelters for homeless families. Brinkman said the leftovers that can be saved will be for these families.
Brinkman said this Thanksgiving dinner is about fellowship and providing a good environment for people to enjoy a holiday meal and feel like they’re included. Some guests from previous years are now volunteers.
“You can have Thanksgiving anywhere,” Brinkman said. “I’m grateful we can put this on and put on a meal and hopefully we make differences in people’s lives.”