There will be changes, but the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner is on for 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball at the planning committee, but the event was, in their eyes, far too important to not host in one form or another.
"It is a challenge, but our mission is still to be a light for people who, for whatever reason, need a meal," said Steve Williams, a volunteer for 20 years with the community Thanksgiving dinner.
Because of crowd-size restrictions and increasing COVID-19 infection numbers, there will not be dine-in event as a part of the annual dinner — though Williams knows there will be people arriving Thursday expecting a seat at a table.
"I think there will be a significant number of people that walk up to our doors that expect to come in," Williams said. "There are a lot of older people in this town that do not get email or use social media. ... And we feel (eating at the church in a group setting) has been an important part of this. ... We are asking, ’How do we show God’s love to the the community when we can’t have them come in?’ "
All meals with be takeout or delivery only. Meals will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. Delivery is available by calling 316-283-2554 by about 11 a.m. Nov. 26. Pickup will be at Grace Community Church, 1600 S. Anderson.
There is no charge for the meal. The menu will be turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberries, hot rolls, pie, cake and coffee or tea.
And, as is tradition, there will be plenty of food.
"We went to 40 turkeys this year. We don’t know if that will be too many or not," Williams said. "Any leftovers go to the homeless shelter, New Jerusalem and people in this community that need help."
Between carryout, dine in and delivery, there were 1,100 meals served last year.
"We thought we would see more this year. People wanted to get out. ... We have spent a lot of time in prayer and we hope that we are doing it in the right way this year," Williams said. "Hopefully by next year (COVID-19) is a memory and we do not have to deal with it."