Escanaba’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner returns

Everyone was welcome to attend the free meal.
People eating a Thanksgiving meal inside Escanaba High School's cafeteria.
People eating a Thanksgiving meal inside Escanaba High School's cafeteria.(WLUC photo)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 1:11 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Escanaba’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner returned this year, after not having the event last year.

“Thanksgiving is a special time of the year. We give thanks for all that we’ve been given and sometimes it’s not always the greatest stuff, but we learn from even the worst stuff,” said George Hansen III, who attended the dinner on Thursday.

This was Hansen’s first time at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Without it, he would’ve spent the holiday by himself.

“I’m all by myself. I’m divorced so I wanted some camaraderie, so I just came out here to be with the old folks like myself,” said Hansen.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner has been an Escanaba tradition for more than 40 years. This year, there were no take-out meals or deliveries. The reason: to bring people together.

“It’s a chance to get the community back together because so many people are alone at this time and so it’s not about if you can afford to pay or not, it’s about being with people instead of being alone,” said Dennis LaMarch, the ‘Head Turkey’ for the event.

Volunteers worked on the event since May. About 120 people helped to make it possible.

“Within the last month we’ve been meeting every week to get this all coordinated together with thirtysomething turkeys,” said Lydia LaPalm, vice president for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Food was provided by various organizations in the community. Kambria Grenfell, who died on September 18 from brain cancer, and her family donated money to the event. Dinner included all the fixings.

“We are serving turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce and of course stuffing and famous pie,” said LaPalm.

“The food is delicious. I can’t wait to get into that pumpkin pie,” said Hansen.

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