This year the Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville at the Alfond Youth & Community Center will serve 750 fully cooked and individually packaged Thanksgiving Dinners, drive-thru style, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday Nov. 21, from their parking lot at 126 North St. in Waterville.

In addition, this Thursday and Friday the Center will hand out full Thanksgiving Dinners–In-a-Bag to more than 170 After school Program Families, complete with frozen turkey and all the fixings, according to a news release from the center.

“Each year we look forward to opening our triple gymnasium doors for the huge community Thanksgiving Dinner,” said AYCC CEO Ken Walsh.

The numbers of individuals served crested 800 last year and included groups from the Home for Little Wanderers, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, area soup kitchens, and 200 after school program youth, 80% of whom experience food insecurity. “To make this happen safely this year, we knew we needed to bring back our Drive-thru Dinner service,” said Walsh. Community members quickly rose to the call and the donations poured in. Chris and Linanne Gaunce pulled together their Central Maine Motors family to donate 150 frozen turkeys and fill 150 bags with stuffing, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, canned vegetables, gravy and dinner rolls. Funding for the drive-thru dinners came from Mike Runser of Valley Beverage, Peter Harris, Ann Mitchell, Dan Shea, and countless anonymous supporters.

“Our one regret is that we can’t utilize our terrific community volunteers,” said Chrissy Johnson, child and youth development director at the youth center. Due to the pandemic the numbers of volunteers, over 100 in past years, had to be practically eliminated; however, that didn’t cause any problems for the youth center staff, who were thrilled to donate their own time to pull off the dinner. “I was so moved by the number of staff who jumped at the chance to help make and serve these dinners. We are all looking forward to this Saturday!”

The drive-thru dinner is open to the community; simply drive up to an AYCC volunteer, tell them how many meals you want, then go enjoy your feast. The community center is thankful this year for all of the community members who enable them to continue to serve those who need it most. Location: Parking Lot of Alfond Youth & Community Center,

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