Blaine’s Community Thanksgiving Meal is back with new organizers, after the annual dinner – a fixture of the community for nearly two decades – was unexpectedly cancelled last year.
The Blaine United Church of Christ, the Healthy Youth Coalition and the American Legion Riders have come together to bring back the Community Thanksgiving Meal. Members of the public are invited to enjoy a free turkey dinner prepared by community volunteers. The event will take place on Saturday, November 23 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Blaine Senior Center, 763 G Street.
The annual Thanksgiving meal was previously organized by Sons of the American Legion Squadron 86, a program of Blaine American Legion Post 86 that began hosting the dinner in 2000. The meal was unexpectedly cancelled last year due to a lack of volunteers and resources. In 2017, the year before it was cancelled, more than 800 people were served at the dinner.
In the past, the meals traditionally took place on Thanksgiving Day. This year, however, the Thanksgiving meal is being held on November 23, which is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, also known as Survivor Day.
“Families and community members impacted by suicide are encouraged to attend,” said Healthy Youth Coalition co-founder Jesse Creydt. “It’s our way of carrying on the tradition of the Sons of American Legion Community Meal, while also recognizing those impacted by suicide loss. We’re looking to bring our community together to support each other and let folks know that they are not alone during the holiday season.”
One of the volunteers at the event will be James Brown, assistant director of the local chapter of the American Legion Riders motorcycle club. “We’re a veterans’ motorcycle organization, and with 22 vets a day committing suicide, when we found out about the Healthy Youth Coalition and their focus on teen suicide, it seemed that our two organizations would be able to work well together on this event,” said Brown.
The Community Thanksgiving Meal will feature live music by Mike Bohnson and DJ Al Schalis, kids’ games and a suicide prevention presentation at 2 p.m. Volunteers are needed to assist with the event; to volunteer your time, please contact Julia Frehner at 435/704-1598.
Donations are also needed to help fund the meal. Please make your financial contributions out to Healthy Youth Coalition – Thanksgiving. Donations can be mailed or dropped off to Healthy Youth Coalition c/o Soul Space Studio, 264 H Street, Suite B, Blaine, WA 98230.