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The Scarlet & Black

Thanksgiving dinners offered to students staying in Grinnell


As students prepare to make the trip home for Thanksgiving break, many others prepare to spend the holiday on campus. Whether due to long and expensive travel arrangements or poor relationships with family members, going home presents difficulty for many at the College.

Fortunately, many organizations around Grinnell are thinking of these students and want to include them in their holiday celebrations. Three events in particular promise companionship and fresh meals for those who find themselves alone on Thanksgiving: Hotel Grinnell’s Thanksgiving dinner, the BCC Thanksgiving, and Local Foods Thanksgiving.

First on the list is Hotel Grinnell’s free Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner is on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd from 4-8pm and is free for students. Non-students are welcome to join for $28. To RSVP, all guests must text Dinner to 641-352-6288. While Hotel Grinnell offered a dinner last Thanksgiving, the meal came with a fee. This year, owners Angela Harrington and her partner Steve Holtze ’67 aimed to make the event more financially accessible for students. They care deeply about creating a pseudo-family in the town for students who are not able to spend time with loved ones over the holiday. As of now, they have received 140 RSVPs and are open to several more. They hope that this event will open up the hotel as a community space for students.

“I want students to be comfortable to use the hotel’s lobby, the Periodic Table, the lounge, and the event center,” said Harrington.

Another strong motivation to make the event free and support students this year was because the most frequent guests of Hotel Grinnell are families coming to visit their children. Therefore, a free Thanksgiving meal is a way to express their gratitude.

Another option for those seeking company on Thanksgiving day is dinner at the Black Cultural Center on campus from 4-8pm. This dinner caters to students of the black diaspora in the dishes they’ll be serving. Those who would like to help shop and cook for the dinner can email Rayyon Robinson ’19 at However, those lacking culinary skills are welcome to eat regardless.

“If you want to help and you are aware of how to cook, obviously then we want those people. But also if you say your seasonings are salt and pepper, then stay at home and come to eat later,” said Selah Mystic ’19.

Those seeking a slightly less traditional option might consider the Local Foods Thanksgiving, which will occur on Sunday, November 18th at Main Quad. The dinner is at 6:00pm, and it is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members. It is free and but attendees must RSVP at or sign up at their table in front of the dining hall. Since it is not on Thanksgiving Day, it is an opportunity to have a festive dinner with friends before break comes to an end. Local Foods Thanksgiving is student led, with Josh Jensen,  Nathaniel Crail and Christopher Brunet, all ’19 as the co-leaders. The group anticipates 150-200 people at the event.

This particular event runs on student volunteers and community power. In addition to the students leading the program, Kamal Hammouda from Relish will cook the turkeys. All of the vegetables and meat are from Grinnell Heritage Farm, Middleway Farm, and Olson farms in Iowa. Local Foods Thanksgiving will have an optional donation jar for Mid-Iowa Community Action, a nonprofit that helps families with food insecurity. The student leaders promise several vegan options, including kale, stuffing, roasted vegetables, bread, and apple crisps.

While Thanksgiving is traditionally a family holiday, multiple organizations around Grinnell will attempt to bring people together through food to create a new kind of fellowship.

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