It's turkey time in Auburn

Community groups, churches planning open-to-all dinners
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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It’s almost time to loosen that belt a notch. Turkeys by the dozen, mashed potatoes by the ton and enough pumpkin pies to fill a bakery are all being prepared in order to feed as many Auburnites as possible for Thanksgiving. Let someone else take care of the turkey and fixings this year, as a handful of churches and community groups host Thanksgiving meals this week. First up is Calvary Chapel of Auburn’s Operation Blessing, a free community meal open to everyone from 5-7 p.m. today at the church. A Thanksgiving service follows dinner, at 7 p.m. Another church hoping to serve the community this Thanksgiving is St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, partnering with Maria’s Mexican Tacos to host an open-to-all dinner from noon to 4 p.m. on Thursday at Maria’s. Even if you happen to hit both of these meals, be sure to save room for the main event — Auburn’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Everyone is welcome to come to this 15th annual feast, hosted by the Salvation Army and the Auburn Community Thanksgiving Day Committee from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Placer Building of the Gold Country Fairgrounds. “It’s free to anybody who wants to come in,” said Ken Tokutomi, chairman of the Salvation Army advisory board. “I think there’s this idea that this is (just) for the homeless. Yeah, the homeless and the needy are invited, but it’s for the whole community.” Complementing the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, and also held at the fairgrounds, is a non-denominational celebration service. A handful of local churches are banding together to offer the Thanksgiving service, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the Sierra Building, a short walk from the Placer Building, where the Salvation Army’s dinner takes place. David Mackenroth, a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist of Auburn, said Christian Science churches are among the minority that tends to hold a Thanksgiving service. “We thought it would be nice to modify the service and make it non-denominational,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or non-denominational or have no faith at all. We’d love to hear from everyone, so it’s just wide open.” Mackenroth said Thursday’s celebration wouldn’t be so much of a pulpit-to-you service as it is a way for attendees to give thanks. The service includes music by the Placer High School chamber choir, readings from local pastors and a time for sharing, for those who would like to express their gratitude. Everyone who attends the service is welcome to come to the dinner, and vice versa. “It allows the community an opportunity to give thanks, and then come by for a first-rate meal,” Tokutomi said. “You have the opportunity to have fellowship. We’ll have a good meal and a great time. You don’t have to clean up after yourself. No pots and pans.” Volunteers served some 1,400 meals last year, between those who dined at the fairgrounds and dinners delivered. “I would be happy if we did 1,500,” Tokutomi said. “I expect to see more because of the economy and all the people who lost their jobs.” Homebound residents who would like a Thanksgiving meal delivery should place their orders by 4 p.m. today by calling Delona Archer at (530) 888-1303 or by e-mailing Meal delivery starts around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, and those who don’t have their meals by noon Thursday should call (530) 305-9458. Tokutomi said plenty of people have volunteered to serve and deliver meals, but help is still needed for post-dinner clean up. Those who’d like to help can call (530) 888-1303. Another way to help make the dinner a success is to donate to the Salvation Army. Send a check to The Salvation Army at P.O. Box 4088, Auburn, CA 95604. Designate the check for the Thanksgiving Dinner. __________ Free Thanksgiving dinners Host: The Salvation Army of Auburn and the Auburn Community Thanksgiving Day Committee When: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday Where: Placer Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn Information: (530) 889-3993 Host: Calvary Chapel Auburn When: 5-7 p.m. Wednesday Where: 202 Dairy Road Information: (530) 885-6332 Host: St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church and Maria’s Mexican Tacos When: noon to 4 p.m. Thursday Where: Maria’s Mexican Tacos, 13483 Bowman Road, Auburn Information: (530) 889-2254