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Tenth annual Clarksville Community Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 22 / November 15, 2017

Clarksville is celebrating a decade of hosting Community Thanksgiving dinners. Volunteers from more than 22 local churches of multiple faiths, Clarksville Ruritans and other sponsors are completing plans for the tenth annual Clarksville Community Thanksgiving Dinner set for Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 5-7 p.m. at the Clarksville Community Center.

The objective for the dinner is to strengthen community ties by drawing people together — regardless of faith, race or financial status — and to serve dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to Coordinators Pat Lee, Terri Lee and Elaine Senz.

“Everyone has reasons to be thankful, and we encourage individuals and families to join us for turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, while fellowshipping with others in our community during this season of sharing and giving thanks,” said Lee.

The undertaking began ten years ago as a dream of then-Town Council member Connie Torres. “I had been blessed by participating in my church’s Wednesday night dinners, which caused me to wonder why a community dinner wouldn’t also be a blessing for our community,” said Torres. “Bringing everyone together, regardless of religion, race, or ability to pay should promote understanding, and remind us all of how much we have in common. This is what community is all about.

“It has been so well received, and I am so appreciative to all those volunteers and donors who shared my dream and have made it better each year,” she said. “The results have far exceeded my fondest hopes’”

The dinner is free, but diners are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the local food pantry.

Carryout dinners will also be available for homebound persons, but dinners must be reserved by 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20 in order to assure sufficient food is prepared. Reservations for homebound persons may be placed through one of the participating churches, or by calling (434) 374-0794.

The Clarksville Ruritans and several businesses and individuals as well as participating churches have generously provided continuous financial support since the dinner’s first year. Franklin Dover and Bill Baker with United Country Virginia Realty have toiled overnight with the turkeys each year — demonstrating their exceptional cooking skills —and the carving crew prepares the delicious main course for serving to guests. Over on the ham side, master butcher Morris Locke and his colleague John Currin have expertly deboned and prepared the delicious hams served each year.

Approximately 75 volunteers from churches and the larger community prepare side dishes and desserts, as well as handling table setups, meal preparation, serving, cleanup and delivery to homebound diners.

“Our community is blessed to have these caring organizations and individuals, many of whom have participated every year. Their unselfish generosity truly demonstrates what a community can be, and the importance of supporting each other, regardless of faith, race or financial status” said coordinator Elaine Senz.

Last year more than 800 people in the community were served — and this year’s dinner promises to be better than ever.

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