Wesley readies for annual Thanksgiving dinner today
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Ann Sidmore can't even tell how many years the Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles has had its annual Thanksgiving dinner.
But it's long enough that her children and grandchildren know Wesley United is where Thanksgiving dinner is to be had when they come to Niles for the holiday.
Sidmore is one of roughly 40 volunteers who help put on the dinner.
The number includes those who donate food, those who help transport people to and from the church, and those who help prepare and serve the meal, she said.
Sidmore said the Thanksgiving day dinner, which starts at noon on Thursday, Nov. 27, goes as long as people want to hang around, and she thinks the event is a good way for people to meet and have some fellowship.
Between 90 to 100 people have showed up at the church for the dinner, in the past, she said.
She said five turkeys will be prepared for the dinner, including homemade trimmings, such as dressing, fruit salad, pie and cranberry sauce.
Sidmore said people seem to enjoy coming to Wesley United on Thanksgiving because many of the guests tell the volunteers it's something they look forward to each year.
And, for many of the guests, Sidmore said, the dinner is a way to see people they don't usually see regularly.
Emmett Kadwell, the church's Pastor, isn't involved with organizing the event.
But Kadwell, who has been Wesley United's Pastor for four years, always comes to the church's Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Kadwell said the event initially came about because church members were concerned for homeless people and other people in the community who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.
However, he said the church also realized there were members in their own church who were spending the family holiday alone.
Kadwell said a good mix of people show up at the dinner, and there are many regulars, including many seniors.
Although some people may want to volunteer for this year's dinner, Sidmore said no more volunteers are needed this year.
Sidmore encourages people who wish to attend the dinner to call ahead so that those who make the food know how much to prepare.
For the ones that do volunteer, this year's dinner will be an extra way to share time.
And, Sidmore said for some families it has become part of the family tradition to volunteer at Wesley United for the annual Thanksgiving dinner.