November 21, 2012

Churches planning Thanksgiving Day meals

Logan, Delphi dinners cater to low-income families or people living alone.

by Sarah Einselen

DELPHI — Organizers expect nearly 300 people to eat Thanksgiving dinner at Delphi’s Freedom Center on Thursday.

People come for a variety of reasons, said the Rev. Brent Oliver, pastor of First Assembly of God in Delphi, which is putting on the dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Some attend because they don’t have family nearby to celebrate with, and others come because they can’t afford the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Whatever the need, volunteers started preparations for the meal weeks ago. They’ve made several batches of homemade noodles to go with turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie.

And about 13 turkeys, each roughly 18 pounds, will be carved up for the meal.

One group of three widows Oliver spoke with last year came because “cooking for one is not that much fun,” he said. They appreciated the home-cooked food and opportunity to dine with other local people.

Last year, about 100 attended the meal in its second year at the Freedom Center. Another 60 to 75 meals were delivered to homebound people.

The cost for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and all the usual trimmings increased slightly this year, according to an informal survey of grocery store prices conducted by Indiana Farm Bureau.

The survey, which has been conducted annually in Indiana since 1993, indicated that the cost for this year’s feast for 10 is $50.99 compared to $49.38 in 2011.

That averages out to a “bargain” of about $5 per person, according to IFB second vice president Isabella Chism, who farms with her family in Howard County.

But for some, it’s still not affordable.

In Logansport last year, volunteers at River of Life Christian Church served 590 meals, a big increase from the average 400 to 500 meals the church has provided on Thanksgiving Day the past several years, according to organizer Connie Kiesling.

Kiesling, who with Marsha Iles co-chairs the Thanksgiving dinner committee, is expecting to serve at least 600 meals again this year.

“I think it’s the economy, I really do,” Kiesling said of the reason for the increase.

Volunteers are preparing 25 turkeys, 50 loaves of bread and 70 pies and cakes, among other food, for the church’s Thanksgiving Day dinner. The meal will start with a 15-minute worship service at 11:30 a.m.

RSVPs are requested for the meal at River of Life Christian Church. Call the church office at 574-753-3332 to make a reservation or request a delivered meal for a homebound person.

Homebound deliveries may be requested in Delphi by calling the Freedom Center at 765-564-4410.

• Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at or 574-732-5151.


What: 43rd annual free Thanksgiving community dinner

When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: River of Life Christian Church, 130 Mall Road

RSVP: Call the church at 574-753-3332 so preparations can be made accordingly. Carry-out is available.

What: Third annual Freedom Center free Thanksgiving meal

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday

Where: Freedom Center, 101 W. Front Street, Delphi

RSVP: Call the Freedom Center at 765-564-4410 for more information or to request a delivered meal.