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Fellowship and full stomachs at Auburn feast

Ham, turkey dinner for 1,500 served on Thanksgiving day
By: Anne Papineau Journal Staff Writer
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The pots have been washed and the folding tables put away. It’s a scene played out in millions of American homes on Thanksgiving Day, but Auburn’s free midday feast at the Gold Country Fairgrounds Thursday accommodated a family of approximately 1,500 souls. “There’s warmth, a tremendous amount of warmth amongst people,” said Angela Atteberry, who co-chaired the Auburn Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner with her husband, George. “We’re in trying, anxious times, but people have a desire to be thankful to God for their blessings, and to break bread together,” she said. Atteberry said final numbers won’t be tallied for a spell, but more than 1,000 diners of all ages gathered for the sit-down dinner between 11:30 a.m and 2 p.m. The belly-buster included turkey, ham, mashed sweet yams, mashed potatoes, assorted pies, Jello, green beans with mushrooms, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls and butter. Thursday’s invitation was an open one, thanks to the organizational efforts of the Salvation Army of Auburn and the Auburn Community Thanksgiving Day Committee. Delona Archer coordinated teams of servers and drivers for the Meals on Wheels portion of the dinner. She said they delivered to 240 homebound folks who called in and requested a meal as well as 88 persons who regularly obtain meals through the Seniors First program. The crew also dropped off meals to first responders who were on duty Thursday at the Auburn Police Department and the fire station on Atwood Road. Archer took calls from people requesting meals, and Judy Phillips mapped out the delivery routes that extended to Colfax, North Auburn, Newcastle and Loomis. “I haven’t had time to browse my list,” Archer said, “but we had around 30 drivers.” Archer said volunteers are very much welcomed for this annual event. “But if you want to volunteer, you have to get there early. Call ahead and get a job in advance,” she said. A nondenominational Thanksgiving service preceded this year’s dinner at the fairgrounds. “People are very interested in coming together, in fellowshipping, on Thanksgiving Day. We had a lot of families. The service was very well attended,” Atteberry said. “It gave not only those in the faith-based community but individuals a chance to stand up and say what they’re thankful for this year.” Donny Crandell, interim pastor at Parkside Nazarene Church in Auburn, put on a magic show after the service and before the dinner. For all her hard work, Atteberry won’t be putting her feet up Friday morning. “I have to come back to the fairgrounds and take all the equipment back to its respective homes, the pots and pans, the stuff that makes it happen,” she said. Only then will she be able to take a break. Archer isn’t exactly taking it easy Friday, either. “I’m going to mow my lawn and rake my leaves,” she said.