Volunteers with the Community Fellowship Dinner are making a list and checking it twice. With Thanksgiving still more than a week away, members of the core crew have already been busy preparing for the first of Hermiston’s free holiday meals, said Cathy Stolz, a member of the CFD board of directors.

Chairman Gary Humphreys said with the lingering uncertainty in regards to COVID-19, the board made a decision to again provide heat-and-serve meals.

The longtime holiday meal ministry offered drive-thru pick-up service for its Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in 2020.

“It’s hard because the first two words in our name are ‘community’ and ‘fellowship,’ and there isn’t much fellowship going on with this model,” Humphreys said in an interview earlier this month with EO Media Group.

Anyone that wants a traditional Thanksgiving meal is invited to pick one up Thursday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at Hermiston High School, 600 S. First St. Meals do not have to be ordered in advance — community members are invited to drive up and receive a meal for each person in their household.

In addition, limited delivery service is available. To have a meal delivered, call 541-571-1337 no later than 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Stolz said while volunteers won’t be able to sit down and visit with diners as in past years prior to the pandemic, the objective of providing a traditional meal is important. The menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a roll and dessert.

“The man who started this years ago … had spent so many holidays by himself without a nice turkey or ham dinner,” Stolz said. “His whole idea was that nobody had to go without a holiday dinner on the holiday.”

Last year’s holiday season, Humphreys said, served a record 2,300 meals between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the board doesn’t expect the numbers to be that high this year, Humphreys said they will prepare extra meals — just in case.

“It is delicious. The gravy and the dressing are seasoned so well,” Stolz said. And she should know — Stolz owned and operated a restaurant for decades.

Volunteers are still needed, both before and during the event. Also, donations are appreciated. A nonprofit organization, the program operates on volunteers and donations.

The Community Fellowship Dinner for Christmas Day also will follow the heat-and-serve model. With 2022 being the 40th anniversary of the meal ministry, Humphreys said the board fully intends on resuming the “fellowship” part of the dinner.

“Our goal is to have live people in the building and having a hot meal together next year,” he said. “That’s what we want.”

For questions or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, call 541-571-1337. For more information, search Facebook for “Community Fellowship Dinner — Hermiston.”

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