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The Scarlet & Black

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Grinnell this year


For this upcoming Thanksgiving, Grinnell will have various community-based Thanksgiving dinners for students. One will be held by Saint John’s Lutheran Church on Thanksgiving Day and another will be hosted by Grinnell College’s student-run Local Foods Co-op this Sunday.

Local Food Co-op Thanksgiving Meal

On Sunday, Nov. 23, the student-run Local Foods Co-op will hold an early Thanksgiving meal for students to attend. Grinnell’s Local Foods Co-op is an organization that supports local farmers by selling food grown on local farms. The meal will be held on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. in Main Quad. All donations made to the event will be given to local farmers and Mid-Iowa Community Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty.

According to lead organizer Sophie Neems ’16, “There will be turkey, roasted root vegetables, apple crisp, kale, challah and stuffing” for at least 200 to 250 people. Each ingredient comes from various farms, companies and even from Grinnell College’s own dining hall, which donated the bread and stuffing items.

Jenny Plate

As of now, tickets have sold out for the event but if ticket holders do not claim their tickets by 6:30 p.m., organizers will allow people in if there is still enough food and space. Those who come in are asked to, if possible, give a $5 donation that supports the community by buying local foods from local farmers and also giving money to support Mid-Iowa Community Action.

For the last seven to eight years, the Local Foods Co-op has hosted an annual Thanksgiving meal as a collective Grinnell effort, comprised of Grinnell community members, students, faculty and staff who were part of the organization. However, last spring the organization split into a student-run group and a community business, which left the future of its Thanksgiving dinner in doubt.

Determined to continue the event, Neems decided to coordinate the event with the help of various clubs and teams on campus, including Food for Thought, an on-campus group dedicated to obtaining more sustainable, healthy and humane food in the Dining Hall and her teammates on the women’s cross country team. Having prior experience with the event, she took on the role as lead organizer with the help of Jordan Scheibel ’09.5, a local vegetable farmer and Angela Winburn, a livestock farmer in Grinnell and the College’s Alumni Engagement Coordinator.

“I didn’t want to see the Thanksgiving stop happening. This event allows for students to participate in Thanksgiving that may be international students who have never been, or others who cannot go home for the holiday,” Neems said.

St. John’s Lutheran Church Thanksgiving Meal

On the corner of 1224 East St., St. John’s Lutheran Church will once again hold its community Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27 at noon. St. John’s has held this event for over 28 years.

St. John’s volunteers will not only provide a free meal on Thanksgiving, but also deliver Thanksgiving meals to those who are homebound and unable to attend the community event. Members of St John’s bring in pies and salads and desserts while turkey is prepared professionally. The meal will feature turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, salads, rolls and a variety of holiday pies.

Kelly Rose, Director of Grinnell’s Parks and Recreation Department and Mary Schuchmann, co-founder of the Grinnell Historical Museum Endowment Fund, are the lead coordinators of the event, working closely with the church’s pastors as well as 30 to 40 other volunteers from the church. Everyone in the community, including Grinnell students, are invited to attend the free event.

The event is for “everybody who wants to come and have a place to spend a Thanksgiving with others,” said St. John’s pastor Kathryn Roys.

Roys noted that the event has grown immensely and is very popular in the community.

“It has grown over the years quite significantly—last year we delivered almost 100 meals and at the event we served almost 100 meals at the church,” Roys said.

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