What’s a Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes or corn?
Priscilla Scalf, executive director of the Eastside Community Center, is counting on side-dish donations from the community so she doesn’t have to answer that question.
The center’s free Thanksgiving meal, open to all, is undergoing a format change this year.
In 2011, volunteers fed 1,200 people — all but 200 of them through home deliveries.
If you go
Free Thanksgiving meals Saturday
Eastside Community Center, 421 McClure Road. Served 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. No home deliveries. Reservations requested: 376-7840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lighthouse Full Gospel Tabernacle, 2282 Indiana Ave. Served 3 to 6 p.m. Deliveries available if orders are called in by noon Saturday to 376-7892.
This year, home deliveries have been eliminated, with dinner solely served family style between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. They’re planning for 600 guests.
“We have turkeys and hams,” Scalf said.
But organizers still need a hand with side dishes. Those donations can be dropped off at the center, 421 McClure Road, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today or Friday, or by calling the center at 376-7840 to arrange for an after-hours dropoff.
LaDonna Armstrong, an Eastside member since 1988, likes the idea of the meal’s emphasis returning to a community gathering rather than a carryout service.
“I like taking the time to sit down and talk to old friends,” Armstrong said. “I like the fact that everybody seems to know nearly everybody else there. It feels like home.”
About a mile away, Lighthouse Full Gospel Tabernacle is also serving a free Thanksgiving meal Saturday for members and anyone else who wants to join them. Volunteers will deliver meals if diners call with orders by noon Saturday, said Wanda Jaggers, one of the organizers.
“We really don’t know how many people to expect,” Jaggers said.
The church began making the meal for shut-ins about four years ago. Now, with a team of about 10 volunteers, it has expanded. She didn’t realize until Wednesday morning that Eastside was not doing deliveries as it had in past years.
So Jaggers called her daughter, one of the organizers. “I just told her, ‘You better get ready. You may be getting a lot of calls.’”
Eastside Community Center still needs a variety of items for its annual, free Thanksgiving meal Saturday. Volunteers could use:
Cans of sweet potatoes
Cans of corn
Cans of green beans
Cans of chicken broth
Butter or margarine
Cans of cranberry sauce
Boxed cornbread stuffing
Lemonade or instant tea
White and brown sugar (and creamer)
Paper towels and napkins
Gallon freezer bags
Financial donations help, too