By Jessica Bagley email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Volunteers in the Tonawandas are gearing up for a series of charity dinners and events set for next week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
On Tuesday, the town will offer a dinner for children in the Sheridan Parkside neighborhood at the local community center, located at 169 Sheridan Parkside Drive. The event will run from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
“It is a full-blown turkey dinner, and anyone is welcome,” Board member Dan Crangle said. “Each year, it grows and grows, and for a lot of them, it is the only Thanksgiving meal they have. It is a great dinner.”
Another meal will take place from noon until 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Andrew’s church, located at 1525 Sheridan Drive. Former Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks and Recreation Director Dan Wiles leads the event.
“I have 32 turkeys donated from people in the community and 60 pies — 40 from individuals and 20 from Tops,” he said.
The Eagle Scouts began the event more than 30 years ago, and Wiles has organized the dinner for three years.
“I used to go there and help out with my kids,” he said. “They asked if I would get involved, and I asked the Kiwanis, Lions and Zonta to help. Many hands make light work.”
Volunteers will also be delivering meals to families at their homes.
“We will also take 200 dinners to Meals on Wheels clients, and 30 to 40 people in the community that are calling who are not Meals on Wheels clients,” he said.
Another 75 to 100 people will be served at the church’s McNulty Hall from noon until 2 p.m.
“In total, we’ll serve about 325 people, which is up 10 percent from last year,” Wiles said. “By 2:30 p.m., I’m telling all the volunteers to go home and enjoy their holiday.”
A meal will also be offered at noon on Thanksgiving at the City of Tonawanda Salvation Army, located at 46 Broad St. A Mass will be held before the meal at 11 a.m., and all who are in need of a holiday meal are welcome.
The new iHope Community Church will start a new event on Thanksgiving as well.
The dinner will take place at 2 p.m. Nov. 28 at 316 Thompson St., North Tonawanda. Families or individuals can register for the event by calling 909-2866 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no deadline and anyone is welcome, lead pastor Matthew Richbart said.
“We just want to meet the physical needs of people in North Tonawanda, to help them feel connected and part of a family,” he said. “We just want to share the love of Jesus.”
The event will include a traditional holiday dinner with turkey, stuffing, pies and more.
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.