Community Thanksgiving dinner set for Thursday

Meal includes fried turkey, ham, rice dressing, cornbread dressing, green beans, corn and dessert

SULPHUR — The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner is once again being hosted on Thanksgiving Day at the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center, 933 West Parish Road.

Maplewood Lions Club event chairman William Arceneaux, who is overseeing the event for the 10th year, said guests are invited to arrive at about 10 a.m. with a prayer service set for 10:15 a.m. Volunteers will begin serving food at 10:30 a.m. The annual bingo game will start at noon and run until 2 p.m.

Workers will start injecting the turkeys today, and Arceneaux said volunteers are invited to help at the Lions Club on Maplewood Drive at 4:30 p.m. He said it takes about an hour and a half to inject between 60 and 80 turkeys. The turkeys are then boxed for transport to SPAR.

Beginning at 5:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, the legs of the turkeys are tied and the birds begin hitting the grease. The frying is overseen by Jody and Richard Cole.

At about 8 a.m., turkey carving and ham slicing begins and food is hauled into the gym. Most of the prep is done between 9-10 a.m. The majority of the meal is cooked that morning at SPAR with the exception of the cornbread dressing for 600 people, which is prepared offsite by Marilyn Dawdy.

The meal includes fried turkey, ham, rice dressing, cornbread dressing, green beans, corn and a dessert.

Various civic organizations, churches and schools contribute the food, and donations come from the community. The total cost for the event is around $4,500, which comes out to about $3.75 per meal.

For those wanting to help, Arceneaux recommends showing up around 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

“We try to find something for everyone to do,” Arceneaux said. “We always get an outpouring of support from our community. The community turns out for this in a big way.”

Arceneaux said the community has traditionally helped out by providing deserts and that is another way to help this year. They are also still accepting cash donations.

Leftovers are taken to the Open Door Bikers Church in Sulphur and the City of Refuge in Vinton.

The event is free and open to everyone. For more information, call the Lions Club at 625-2516.