St. Paul Lutheran Church, Napoleon, will host a drive-thru community Thanksgiving dinner Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
The church is located at 1075 Glenwood Ave. The meal provides a full, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, that includes turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and fixings. There is no charge for the meal, but free-will donations are accepted to help offset costs. No reservations are needed to pick up a meal during the time frame.
Those unable to travel to the church can inquire about a limited service available to those homebound within the city. Those wishing to order a meal delivery can call St. Paul Lutheran Church at 419-592-3535 by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Due to COVID-19, the church is only able to offer a drive-thru service this year. Meals are served at the main parking lot on the north side of the church. Attendees picking up meals should drive under the awning, and a volunteer will provide the requested number of meals.
To follow safety guidelines, all volunteers will wear masks, keep proper distancing and will wash hands as necessary to keep everyone safe during the meal service.
Associate Pastor Logan Scheiwe said this is his sixth year participating in the community dinner, which has been held for approximately 20 years.
“Each year we serve about 250 meals to all segments of the community,” Scheiwe said. “Some recipients are older and appreciate a traditional dinner, others are younger and alone with family farther away. We see families volunteer to serve the meal and then eat together after they serve. Some will come to volunteer before their Thanksgiving dinner while others come to help near the end. In the end, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner reveals what makes Henry County a great community as we see a diverse group of people come together to serve one another.”
Scheiwe said the drive-thru approach to this year’s dinner was sought so a meal could still be offered to those who need it in the community.
“The easy solution is to cancel this year’s dinner. We realized, though, that now more than ever, we need to come together and help each other,” he said. “We are able to safely prepare and distribute a meal in order to ensure everyone has a full Thanksgiving dinner. We consulted with the Henry County Health Department as we prepared for this format change.
“We are facing different challenges this year as we adjust to the new format, but our leadership team has stepped up to offer creative and effective solutions,” Scheiwe continued. “Throughout the last many months, we are bombarded with discouraging news and worry about the virus. We knew we needed to continue the dinner and offer a bit of hope and normalcy even as this holiday looks different this year.”
Scheiwe said the meal is made possible by multiple people and organizations coming together to serve the community.
“We usually begin planning for the event the first Monday of November. This year, we started evaluating the format of the meal in September as we knew we needed to make adjustments,” he said. “Once we get to November, we start ordering food, calling for volunteers, donations and reconnecting with previous community partners.”
Scheiwe said Reiser Realty of Napoleon, along with a member of the community, has donated turkeys the last few years, the Napoleon Lions Club assists with the meal deliveries, and members of the church are donating more than 30 pumpkin pies and cooking the turkey.
Volunteers also come together to work one-hour shifts between 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“We usually have up to 20 volunteers at any time cooking, serving, packing meals, washing dishes and greeting guests,” Scheiwe said. “It really does take the community to serve the community. At St. Paul, we’re grateful to help facilitate this event.”
Scheiwe said volunteers are still being sought for the meal, especially for times between noon-3 p.m. Those interested in volunteering or making donations can also call 419-592-3535 for more information.
Email comments to email@example.com.