Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:31 PM on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You're invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with others in the community

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

"Glad I'm not a turkey," was the rallying cry for this group of holiday chefs preparing an pre-Thanksgving turkey dinner at the R.E.C. Room on Nov. 17. From left: Shaffer Nielson, Jonas Noomah, Drew Turner, Sabina Karwowski, Theo Noomah, Elan Carroll, Etienne Kilcher, Elias Huffman, Hailey Wittie and Ashley Norcross. Not pictured: Kathy Kysar, head chef.

A week ago, the smell of roasting turkey and baking pies filled the R.E.C — Resource and Enrichment Co-Op — Room on Nielsen Circle.

Twelve of Homer's younger crowd, most of them in their teens, transformed egg whites into meringue for pies, learned to make green beans almondine, washed dishes and set a table around which they enjoyed the fruits of their labors.

"Glad I'm not a turkey," was their "smile big" cue when posing for a picture.

Gathering momentum toward "turkey day," the First National Bank Alaska is welcoming customers in for a slice of pie and a cup of coffee on Nov. 23.

Then comes Thursday, with its traditional Thanksgiving menu of turkey and stuffing and all the rest. Making sure everyone is fed, some community-minded businesses, organizations and people at the following locations are inviting friends and neighbors to pull up a chair and enjoy a meal for free.

Caribou Family Restaurant

672 East End Road, Homer, 235-5148

Noon-4 p.m.

Sally Johnson and the crew at Caribou Family Restaurant start the day by opening for breakfast at 6 a.m. Then, beginning at noon, they shift gears and welcome the community in for a free Thanksgiving buffet the whole family can enjoy.

Bringing a side dish to add to the menu is great, but not required, according to Johnson. Donations for the Homer Community Food Pantry also will be accepted.

"Just come and eat," she said.

This is the seventh year the Caribou has generously prepared a free holiday meal. In past years, as many as 300-400 people have enjoyed the hospitality.

"We do this because there's a lot of hungry people in this town," said Johnson.

Refuge Chapel

397 E. Pioneer Avenue, Homer, 235-4744

Beginning at 2 p.m.

As they have in the past, the people of Refuge Chapel are preparing a free community Thanksgiving meal. Last year they had about 50 people sit down at the table.

Side dishes are accepted, but not required, said John Williams. There also is no need to call ahead, with volunteer cooks hard at work to make sure everyone has something to eat.

"We've got guys that cook turkeys, women that fix turkeys," said Williams. "It's going to be great."

Homer Elks Lodge 2127

215 W. Jenny Lane, Homer, 235-2127

Noon-4 p.m.

The table also is being spread with a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the Homer Elks Lodge. It's free for honorably discharge veterans. For others, it's $10; children under the age of 10 are free. Calling ahead would be appreciated.

Alcoholics Anonymous

126 W. Pioneer Ave., No. 1, Homer, 235-6822

Beginning at 1 p.m.

A Thanksgiving potluck will be held at 1 p.m. at the Homer Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as meetings throughout the day: noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The 8 p.m. meeting is "closed," meaning it is limited to those with a desire to stop drinking.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221

72551 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point, 235-4101

Beginning at 3 p.m.

The VFW provides the basic parts of a traditional Thanksgiving menu, namely turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Guests are asked, but not required, to bring a side dish. The meal was established primarily for members, but anybody that shows up will be fed, said Jim Dress of the Anchor Point VFW.

The Salvation Army

1468 Sterling Highway, Homer, 235-2609 or 235-8923

Sunday, Nov. 27, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army will provide a free, traditional Thanksgiving meal after church on Sunday. It will be potluck-style, but no one should feel obligated to bring a dish, said Lt. Michelle Josephson. There will be a couple of turkeys, ham, stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, salad, a relish tray, fresh vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and a variety of desserts. It's open to whoever would like to come in for a Thanksgiving meal. People planning to attend can call ahead, but it's not necessary. The Salvation Army also will serve a similar Christmas meal on Dec. 18.

Homer Community Food Pantry

Located in the basement of the Homer United Methodist Church

770 East End Road, Homer, 235-1968

Although the food pantry isn't serving a Thanksgiving meal, it could use some help ensuring there is enough food on the pantry shelves for those needing a little help.

The crew of the USCGC Hickory recently gave the pantry a boost by delivering 2,000 pounds of food donated by people attending the Haunted Hickory.

"It was so encouraging," said Diana Jeska, pantry director. "It helped us get a little organized. We're pretty short on some things, but it seems like people always come through."

Cash and food items donated at the Rotary Health Fair also have helped refill the pantry's shelves, as has 444 pounds of food collected by a local cub scout troop and left on the pantry's doorstep last week, said Jeska.

Even with those donations, there are some empty spots on the pantry's shelves. Specifically needed is stuffing, cranberries and yams.