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Planning, fundraising underway for Rogersville's annual free Thanksgiving dinner

Jeff Bobo • Oct 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The annual People Loving People free Thanksgiving Dinner has proven to be a blessing for thousands of people over the past 15 years whether they be volunteer cooks, delivery drivers, cleanup crew or those who simply enjoy a traditional holiday meal with good company.

The event offers people who might otherwise be alone on the holiday or unable to provide for themselves an opportunity to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal delivered to their door. Or they can enjoy dinner with others at the Joseph Rogers Primary School cafeteria in Rogersville, with transportation to and from the event available.

But what event co-founder Dr. Blaine Jones didn’t expect when PLP’s Thanksgiving dinner was founded 15 years ago were the blessings it has provided to thousands of volunteers, who are thankful for an opportunity to give back to others.  

Jones announced this week that planning and fundraising for this year’s dinner scheduled for Nov. 22 at JRP is underway.

In recent years the event has grown from hundreds to thousands being served, with 2017 exceeding 3,500 meals served, an all-time record. Jones said there’s no reason to believe 2018 won’t be another record breaking year.

“The dinner relies solely on contributions from individuals, families, businesses, companies and any other sources to fund the event,” Jones said. “We have consistently fed more people over the years, and we anticipate feeding as many, if not more, this year. A big concern again this year is how the cost of food has continued to increase in price. We need anyone and everyone to step forward and make a contribution to help us prepare for our 2018 dinner as soon as possible.”

The traditional dinner is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and consists of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing and gravy, green beans, corn, rolls, cranberry sauce and a dessert. It will be prepared and served at JRP under the direction of Head Chef Russ Williamson.

Preparation again this year will be handled by teams of volunteers and primarily by the Sullivan Baptist Disaster Relief Kitchen, which is supervised by Jim Ramey.

Volunteers are needed to work in all areas of the event and anyone wishing to pitch in can come to one of the organizational meetings or call (423) 921-4175 for more information.

The first meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Hawkins County Memorial Hospital cafeteria.

A second meeting is tentatively planned for Thursday, Nov. 8 and a third, if needed, on Thursday, Nov. 15. In 2017, PLP utilized more than 425 volunteers, and Jones said they will need that many again.

Another opportunity to help out is by preparing desserts or cornbread for dressing, which can be dropped off at JRP on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in providing desserts or cornbread can call (423) 921-4175 for more information.

Anyone interested in attending the meal, receiving a delivered meal or arranging transportation to the meal, can call (423) 921-4175 and leave a detailed message. 

For more information, visit www.foursquareinc.org. Click on the Thanksgiving Dinner link to see other links with more detailed information, downloadable flyers, forms and much more. Announcements and other information will also be placed on the PLP Thanksgiving Dinner Facebook page.

Donations may be sent to Four Square, Inc., c/o People Loving People Thanksgiving Dinner, P.O. Box 35, Rogersville, TN 37857.

All donations are used strictly to purchase the food for the dinner. Interested sponsors or donors can call Jones for more information at (423) 272-3150.

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