‘That’s what it’s all about’: Escanaba celebrates community at annual Thanksgiving Dinner

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Escanaba.
The Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Escanaba.(WLUC photo)
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 2:57 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are some of the foods served at the Escanaba High School cafeteria for Thanksgiving.

But the event is not about the food, it’s about the people.

“Our event isn’t based on your income levels or your ability to pay. It’s just for everyone so that you’re not alone at Thanksgiving,” said Dennis LaMarch, the “top gobbler” at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

This is a nearly 40-year tradition. But for some, it’s the first Thanksgiving with the community.

“Of course being with my mom and dad. It’s wonderful that I still have them. It’s the togetherness. It’s wonderful because Escanaba is such a close-knit community,” said Mary Demerse, who attended the Thanksgiving dinner.

The meal is free and put together by volunteers.

“One of the problems we have had is that we have too many volunteers which is rare in today’s society but we have a fabulous group of people and they’re all willing to do anything,” said LaMarch.

Girl Scouts made all the placemats and were in the cafeteria Thursday lending a helping hand.

“We’re handing out the trays if people need it and if people need help carrying their dinner to their car, we do it,” said Isabel, a Girl Scout helping at the dinner.

The hope is that this event will continue for generations to come.

“It’s wonderful that people bring their children and for their children to see this. That’s what it’s all about - togetherness and community,” said Demerse.

The Thanksgiving Community Dinner is for anyone, anywhere because this group believes no one should be alone on Thanksgiving.