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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Turkey dinner brings community together

by Garrett Fodor

Residents had a chance to gather, share laughs, and enjoy a meal on Saturday evening, while supporting a local church.

  Woodslee United Church opened its doors to the community to host its 10th annual turkey dinner on Saturday. The dinner was available to anyone and the attendees were able to either eat at the church with family and members of the community, or get a to-go box. The meal was complete with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, and all the fixings. 

  Vicki Olson and her husband, Shannon, have been involved in the parish together for 52-years. They have organized the turkey dinner for the last 10-years and are pleased with how things have grown. Olson said the fundraiser is one of the parish’s largest and they are thrilled with the support they have received from the community.  

  “The Stanleys suggested that as a good fundraiser, ‘why don’t we do something around Thanksgiving.’ So, we decided we would have a turkey dinner,” Olson said. “We sort of went through the various churches in the communities to see if they were doing anything. If they were, we were choosing a time when there wasn’t anything happening, which happened to be the Saturday before Thanksgiving.”

  The dinner has grown from around 300 people attending in the first year, to it topping out at 580 people last year. Olson said this year has been their most successful turnout as she estimated over 600 people attended. She said the event could not be made possible without the support and volunteers from the parish. 

  It also served as an opportunity for the community to be introduced to Woodslee United Church’s new minister, Rev. Carl Emke, who was appointed in May. Emke said he was excited to experience the dinner and meet those who attended. He added that since he arrived, the dinner was talked about and in the planning stages shortly after. 

  “A lot of people talked about the turkey dinner, as in creating fun, not just funds, but fun,” Emke said. “I’m trying to maintain the interest of the people that are here that like doing things, who like working together and just being a face in the community that is welcoming to people.”

  Emke said he and his family enjoy living in the small community of Woodslee and meeting everyone, not just in the parish, but also the community. For those who are interested in attending his service, they begin at 11:15 a.m. every Sunday.


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