Now in Its 18th Year, Dinner at Friendship Hall Starts Thursday, 12-3 p.m.
MONTROSE – By the time Thanksgiving Day rolls around in Montrose, more than 100 turkeys will have been cooked, along with countless pies and side dishes, as Montrose Community Dinners, Inc. holds its 18th annual Montrose Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Friendship Hall starting at noon on Thursday.
The dinner is free and open to anyone.
Longtime Thanksgiving Dinner volunteer Marge Keehfuss says organizers are expecting nearly 2,000 people to attend the longstanding Montrose tradition, and volunteers have been in the kitchen all week preparing for the feast.
“This is for anyone and everyone in the community,” Keehfuss says. “It’s a really, really good meal. There will be ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salads and pies.”
This Thanksgiving tradition in Montrose began 18 years ago and started with the Montrose Association of Churches. After the event started to grow in size, Keehfuss says the Montrose Chamber of Commerce took it over.
Eventually, the event grew to a size where it needed its own entity to organize and run it, so a group from the chamber of commerce formed Montrose Community Dinners Inc. and its only charge is to raise funds throughout the year and then hold the region’s largest Thanksgiving Day meal for free to anyone who shows up.
“I don’t’ know of any other community that does this,” she says. “I think we are a unique community that gives back to the people of our community. There are so many volunteers that are involved in this and we just couldn’t do it without them. The volunteers are just wonderful.”
And for those who are unable to leave their homes to attend the meal, Keehfuss says there will be volunteers on hand to deliver Thanksgiving meals to those who may be unable to physically attend.
This year, volunteers will be cooking 110 turkeys that were donated by the Montrose Association of Realtors, while all of the pies will be donated by community members from various churches in Montrose and Olathe.
“The kitchen does get a little chaotic, but we have a good kitchen manager,” Keehfuss says. “We can cook 18 turkeys at a time at Friendship Hall and we have a lot of volunteers that run the kitchen.”
In the end, Keehfuss expects to serve over 2,000 people over a period of three hours.
“The serving lines can get long, but it’s fun,” she says. “It’s a room full of friends and family. It’s an event that makes you feel really good.”
Keehfuss says organizers have enough volunteers for the event, which takes place from 12-3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.