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A new year of thanks and giving

Brattleboro Community Thanksgiving committee seeks volunteers

BRATTLEBORO—The Thanksgiving Holiday is three months away, but the committee behind the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hopes fellow citizens with start giving their time early.

People interested in volunteering for the more than four-decades old community dinner can meet with committee members at the Brattleboro Food Co-op Cafe on Thursday. Aug. 13, at 7 p.m.

Current volunteers are looking for people to serve both on subcommittees — such as entertainment — and on the core organizing committee.

According to long-time volunteer Ray Branagan, some members of the core committee want to step down after more than a decade of service.

Finding people for the core committee is crucial. “We need people to step up and take their places,” he said.

At this time, Branagan said a committee of six would be ideal.

“I believe that change brings opportunity,” he said, “and I can’t wait to get started."

On Thanksgiving Day, the community dinner is open to anyone and everyone from residents alone for the holiday, to students staying through winter break, to visitors passing through town.

Volunteer drivers also deliver meals to people who can’t make it downtown.

The all-volunteer team of cooks, servers, runners, drivers, and dishwashers prepare, serve, and clean up a Thanksgiving dinner that feeds an estimated 500 people.

Branagan is the “gatherer” for the Community Thanksgiving which welcomes everyone free of charge, although donations are always welcomed.

In the weeks leading up to the meal, served in the River Garden on Main Street, Branagan calls local businesses for donations. On the day of the meal, he runs between the River Garden, St. Michael’s School, and other nearby church and community kitchens preparing the food.

Branagan noted that some community members have called him afraid that if the current core committee steps down, the community dinner will cease.

He says no, confident that new volunteers will step up.

“The Thanksgiving dinner of 2015 will happen just as planned,” he said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #318 (Wednesday, August 12, 2015). This story appeared on page A2.

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