Super Duper Thanksgiving Dinner Served at Portland Club by Wayside Food Program

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Laura Hamilton, Metrics Coordinator for Wayside Food Program (L) with Julie Harrison, Community Meals Manager, for Wayside Today.

The Thompson Family Enjoys Dinner at the Portland Club.  “This is Really Good,” said John Far Left.

Jessica Swartz, (L) With Her Daughter Tabitha, at Today’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

Santos Mpuru and Jean Pascal Falameani, From the Congo, Today.

Two Related Families Voluntered at the Dinner Today. There Are Five Members of the Finkielman Family from MA. and Two Members of the Spires Family Now Retired in Maine.  (The Man on the Far Left is the Father-in-Law of the Man in the Front Row on the Right)!

About 220 people enjoyed a memorable Thanksgiving Day meal with turkey and all the fixins’ today at the Portland Club, State Street. The Super Duper Dinner was provided by Wayside Food Program.

Forty turkeys were cooked at DiMillo’s Restaurant yesterday, there was yummy squash, favorite mashed potatoes, a delicious green salad, gravy and pumpkin pie to die for! Most of the other items on the menu were prepared by the volunteers – all thirty (30) of them.  Table centerpieces topped off the festive dinner.

Among those serving today was city councilor Pious Ali.  However, he left before the end of the Super Duper Thanksgiving Dinner.

In the past, United Way put on the holiday feast itself.  However, Wayside has hosted the annual tradition itself for the past eight (8) years.  Dale Churchill provided a festive musical background with his piano concert.

Two from the Congo attended the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for the first time.  Santos Mpuru has been here for two years and works for a glass company.  He makes  doors, windows and other glass products.  “The food is really good here,” said Jean Pascal Falameani.  “We will be coming back next year,” he said grinning.

For the sixth year, Jessica Swartz, from Windham, and her daughter, Tabitha, 13, volunteered.  It’s become a tradition for the two – within a tradition.

“The weather is a driving factor in the number of guests we see each year.  Last year it was 11 degrees and fewer people showed.  It was the quietest year since we’ve been here.  When people come over the bridge from South Portland, its very prohibitive.  People who really want to be here won’t come because the cold on the bridge and wind gets dramatic.  The bridge is a big factor.  People like to hang around outside the Portland Club here and visit.  But they can’t do it when its super cold,” Jessica said, a special education teacher. (See above left photo of the mother and daughter team).

The temperature in downtown Portland was in the 40s.  But the sun was not out and it felt colder than that.to this blogger.  Correspondingly,  the number of attendees was high as well today.

For anyone interested, there will be a Christmas Day dinner at the Irish Heritage Center, beginning at 10:00 am.

Please see post herein dated November 23, 2017 for a previous piece on the annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner hosted by Wayside at the Portland Club.

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