YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – An army of volunteers from a Youngstown church served up Thanksgiving meals for the community on Thursday.
Hundreds gathered inside First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown on Wick Avenue for the nearly 40-year-old tradition.
Whether people are unable to prepare a meal for themselves or just won’t have the time come next Thursday, these dinners were free to the public.
There were already long lines before the church’s doors opened at 4:30 p.m.
“Last year, we were just under 500, but we never know. We prepare for about 700,” organizer Margie Patterson said. “The beginning of this week we started preparing the food.”
She says most of the preparation happens about a week before Thanksgiving, but the planning starts in early spring.
“We get donations from the church, we get donations from the community and all of the items are ordered in September and October.”
None of it would be possible without the volunteers who help serve up the hot meals and usher people to their seats.
“Most are from the church, but we also get volunteers from the community to help, too,” Patterson said. “You’ll see a lot of Boy Scouts around here. Boy Scout 255, which is a Boy Scout troop that meets in our church, is a huge help.”
Organizers say it’s a tradition they intend to keep. Several volunteers say it’s another way to get them into the spirit of giving, ready for the holiday season.