Come one come all to Thanksgiving feast

Free community meal served noon to 2 p.m. today
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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Here’s something to be thankful for — you don’t have to cook today. There’s a place for everyone at the table today at Auburn’s 18th annual community Thanksgiving Day dinner, held from noon to 2 p.m. in the Placer Building of the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. “I’m delighted when people come with their whole families and enjoy and leave with full tummies,” said Angela Atteberry, longtime event coordinator. Atteberry and an army of volunteers have spent the past few days picking up and readying everything from 80 turkeys and 20 hams to 640 pounds of potatoes and cases upon cases of canned yams. “We go through 100 pounds of butter,” she said. Longtime volunteers like Frank Najera get up bright and early on Thanksgiving in order to ensure all the traditional favorites are ready in time. “I’ve always done the potatoes,” said Najera, an Auburn resident who has volunteered for the dinner for more than 10 years. “We spread it out, so they’re always fresh and warm. I usually get there at a quarter of 7, and we’re usually through by noon or 1.” Najera said he and other volunteers mash the potatoes by hand, “which makes them better,” and augment them with milk, butter, salt and pepper. Najera enjoys the good feeling that comes with volunteering for the holiday feast, which is put on by the Salvation Army. “You see a lot of happy people, for one thing, and it’s nice to be around a happy vibe,” he said. “Every year you meet different people.” Jerri White Turtle of Loomis is another longtime volunteer. “Everybody keeps calling me the egg lady,” she said. “That’s what I do every year, I go up and do the deviled eggs.” White Turtle is a big advocate for volunteerism, and said Auburn’s Thanksgiving Day meal holds a special place in her heart. “It’s been a number of years that I’ve been doing it and I don’t know where I’d rather be,” she said. White Turtle said diners are sure to leave full and happy. “From my perspective, you can’t get a better meal anywhere, and I don’t mean to disrespect any of the wonderful food out there,” she said. “I think there’s so much love and attention that goes into it to make everything as perfect as it can be. I think it’s the best meal in town.” __________ 18th annual Thanksgiving Day dinner When: Noon to 2 p.m. today Where: Placer Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn Cost: Free Information: (530) 889-3990 Good to know: Those who feel the need to contribute to can send donations to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 4088, Auburn, CA 95604.