Desserts still needed for community Thanksgiving meal

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | 2:23 p.m. CST; updated 12:48 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Dessert at Almeta Crayton’s community Thanksgiving dinner might be a little less sweet this year, if she and her team of volunteers don’t receive more donations.

Cakes, pies and bread are still needed for the First Ward councilwoman’s community Thanksgiving dinner being held Thursday at Stephens College.

The main course is covered, said Crayton. At about 1:30 p.m. Today, she and her volunteers were in desperate need of turkeys, with only 12 birds in the oven. But donations poured in over the next few hours. By 5 p.m., Crayton and her crew of volunteers in Stamper Commons felt they had enough turkeys for tomorrow’s feast.

“Turkeys are everywhere,” said Crayton with a laugh.

Crayton, who has been hosting free community Thanksgiving dinners for the past decade, says about 300 people usually show up for the meal. This year, she expects more.

“Most of the people are working people,” she said. Families also make up a large share of the guests.

The reasons behind her hosting the dinner are simple.

“It’s something you do,” she said. “There are lots of hungry people.”

Crayton said she and her team had already prepared 1,500 food baskets — each with a turkey — for handing out to residents who wish to prepare food at home.

Those interested in donating cakes, pies and bread for Thursday’s meal may call Crayton at 228-2475. Donations may be delivered to Stamper Commons at Stephens College. Volunteers are needed beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday to cook and serve.

Thursday’s dinner begins at noon in the Kimball Ballroom at Lela Raney Wood Hall at Stephens College. Food will be served until 5 p.m. and people can show up any time until then. All are welcome — no RSVP required.

“Just show up,” Crayton said.

Another Thanksgiving meal hosted by the Salvation Army will be served at 11 a.m. Thursday at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken at 2316 Paris Road. Owner Jon Fisher says that the Salvation Army received donations and purchased turkeys for the meal, but his restaurant will be covering the rest of dishes. Volunteers aren’t needed, but food donations may be sent to the Salvation Army, 1108 W. Ash St., Columbia, MO, 65203. Mark all food donations “ATTN: Turkey Dinner.”

— Missourian Reporter Laura Latzko contributed to this report.

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