COTTAM – For the second year in a row, a global pandemic prevented Cottam United Church from hosting its traditional community gathering to celebrate US Thanksgiving.
But that didn’t stop the congregation, with the help of dozens of volunteers, including Kingsville firefighters, from holding its 75th annual turkey dinner on Thursday, serving 1,450 meals with all the trimmings, including 200 donated to Downtown Mission.
The normal community gathering was missed, including many American guests. But on the plus side, perhaps, dinner committee chair Rick Mayea said there wasn’t a mountain of dishes to clean.
Pre-pandemic, he said, some 600 people would sit at the tables in a series of sessions, with another 400 take-out meals prepared. On Thursday, people who bought tickets in advance had to queue their vehicles outside, and runners handed out up to 75 ready-to-go meals every 15 minutes. The volunteers cooked 50 turkeys and cut about 1,400 pounds (635 kg) of meat to serve.
All proceeds, Mayea said, go to “long-term beautification projects” in Cottam and elsewhere in Kingsville. Much of this year’s earnings, he said, is being invested in community park benches.