Pass the turkey, please

1,700 expected for community dinner
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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How do you feed 1,700 people for Thanksgiving? You start with 45 turkeys, throw in about 30 hams, mix everything with 100 pounds of butter, mash 350 pounds of potatoes, devil 75 dozen eggs and add 1,500 rolls into the mix. At least that’s how the Salvation Army of Auburn volunteers put together a free community dinner that has become a longstanding tradition for locals. “People really just enjoy coming together from all walks of life for fellowship and breaking bread together,” said Major Ed Loomis, corps officer/pastor of the Salvation Army of Auburn. “It’s a great way of getting the community to come out on Thanksgiving and mingle with folks who might otherwise be shut in and have no companionship at all.” When dinner guests arrive Thursday, they will see the result of a more than daylong preparation for the annual event. Wednesday morning volunteer cooks were melting better, mixing flours, hauling in turkeys, setting up rows and rows of tables and chairs and more. Brandi Blasi-Hebbard has helped prepare the meal for the past 14 years. On Wednesday, the “Team Gravy” member was busy making roux from scratch for the gravy. “If you have a good roux, you have a good gravy,” Blasi-Hebbard said. Blasi-Hebbard said she loves to cook for the dinner because it appeals to her background as a chef and because it’s a great cause. She added that it’s nice to work with fellow volunteers. “It’s like a family,” Blasi-Hebbard said. “We’ve all been doing this for so long it good to come here and get a hug and a ‘how ya doing.’” Loomis said the family element is the primary focus of the dinner. “We try to make this a family affair,” Loomis said. The Auburn Community Thanksgiving Dinner is from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment. ---------- What: Auburn Community Thanksgiving Dinner Where: Gold Country Fairgrounds, Auburn When: noon to 2 p.m., Nov. 27 Cost: free Contact: Salvation Army at (530) 889-3993 ----------