MHS Annual FREE Thanksgiving Dinner
Starts at 11:00 AM
Volunteers for dinner and delivery are always welcome!
Call 465-7381 ext. 4413 to place a delivery order.
With less than a week before the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner at Messalonskee High School, chief organizer Mike Perkins is in full throttle turkey-and-trimmings preparation mode.
The longtime RSU 18 bus driver has to account for the 250 pies (pumpkin, apple, cherry, and coconut-cream), courtesy of the Girl Scouts, as well as the other traditional table fare: turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, carrots, corn, and peas.
He also has to coordinate his army of up to 60 volunteers, a force that includes both students and community residents, so that he has enough people to cook, serve, deliver, and cleanup for what typically is about 1,200 diners, none of whom are asked to pay a cent for the meal.
But have no fear. Perkins is up to the job; he’s been doing it for about 30 years and has no plans to stop anytime soon. “It is a ton of work, a ton of phone calls,” Perkins admits. “You know what keeps me involved? I thoroughly enjoy helping people.”
The big supper runs from 11 to 1 p.m. on Thursday in the Messalonskee cafeteria. During that same time period, volunteers will deliver Thanksgiving meals to the homes of anybody who places an order through the hotline (509-4300).
Perkins said his crew has made deliveries to people as far away as Augusta, China, and Madison.
While getting a free holiday meal gets most of the publicity, Perkins said the value of the event goes beyond food. In fact, a few years ago, one of the diners, an older gentleman, insisted on giving Perkins a $100 contribution for the opportunity to eat with fellow community members. Perkins tried to convince the man to take back his money, but his efforts were to no avail. “He told me, ‘You don’t understand young man. I could buy everybody in here a meal, but I can’t buy companionship.’ ”
written by Colin Hickey