Thanksgiving will take place no matter what — because “this is what we do. We’re here to serve,” Major Barbara Wehnau said Monday.
Wehnau’s workplace, the Salvation Army in Port Angeles, will start a trio of free, carry-out Thanksgiving meal services on the North Olympic Peninsula.
From noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, traditional turkey suppers, complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable and dessert, will be given out at 206 S. Peabody St. in Port Angeles. Face masks and physical distancing will be required in line, Wehnau said.
Come Thursday, Hardy’s Market in Sequim and the Tri-Area Community Center in Chimacum will box several hundred Thanksgiving dinners.
“We’re going to set up a tent, and people can drive through and pick up a meal or two,” said Derrick Killion, manager of Hardy’s, on the roundabout at 10200 Old Olympic Highway north of Sequim.
“We’ll start at 11 [a.m.] and go until we run out of food,” he added, noting Hardy’s has carried on this tradition for at least a decade.
The Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road, encourages people to make reservations for takeout dinners, but co-organizer Rita Hubbard said her volunteer crew is ready to handle what comes its way between noon and 2 p.m.
“We’re up to 200, and we plan on 300,” she said of the dinners with turkey and all the trimmings.
For people who can’t get to the center during the two-hour window Thursday, a call to 360-379-4228 is needed so volunteers can provide home delivery.
“We ordered 10 to 12 turkey roasts,” Hubbard said. Those go with 50 pounds of potatoes, 90 pounds of carrots and 300 dinner rolls donated by Pane d’Amore. God Bless Food, a local caterer, is baking pumpkin cookies that travel well.
About 25 percent of those who’ve called to reserve a takeout dinner are single people, Hubbard said. Some have asked whether they can have a second meal for their caregivers, to which she answers yes.
“That is no problem at all,” said Hubbard, a longtime volunteer.
Hubbard and her counterparts across the Peninsula may see more hungry people than in recent years. Groups that have held free, donation-based Thanksgiving dinners at St. Paul’s in Port Townsend, Trinity United Methodist Church in Sequim and Queen of Angels in Port Angeles are not hosting them this year; nor is the Sunshine Cafe in Sequim.
Hubbard, for her part, has seen no shortage of volunteers for the Tri-Area Community Center effort. Her crew numbers 25 people, she said; they will practice COVID-19 safety protocols as they cook and assemble the dinners.
Like the Salvation Army, the Tri-Area meal program is sustained by donations. This year could be different in terms of contributions made at the center, Hubbard said.
“In the past, we’ve received at least a thousand bucks [at the door]. We may get donations, we may not. We think we’re OK” at this point, she said.
Next, “we have to worry about Christmas time.”
Diane Urbani de la Paz, senior reporter in Jefferson County, can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].