MADISON — Nearly 250 meals were provided Thursday as part of the annual Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Dinner at Madison Area Memorial High School.

Although fewer people were served than in past years, enthusiasm was high as students and staff members spent much of their week helping with organizing and by cutting fruit, opening cans and preparing hot meals.

Preparations for the 30th annual giveaway began weeks ago with calls for donations from local businesses, according to Hannah Luce, a librarian at the school and adviser to the National Honor Society. Forty students volunteered, along with a members of the staff and community. The event was the school’s National Honor Society service project.

“We’re serving a little less this year. Last year, we did about 350 meals,” Luce said.

In non-pandemic years, the event brings in about 400, she said.

Historically, the school has opened its doors for a sit-down meal, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was the second year meals were delivered.


Abigail Linkletter, a senior at the high school, said this was her second year volunteering for the event. She spent her time after school Wednesday cutting vegetables, and arrived Thursday to assist with cooking turkeys. After scooping squash for each meal, she helped deliver them.

“I did the event last year, too,” Linkletter said. “It feels good to help out our community like this.”

Each meal included the usual Thanksgiving fixings: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, onions, squash, bread, cranberry sauce, corn, bread and a choice of apple crisp or custard pie for dessert.

Students packed and prepared the food in assembly-line fashion. The apple crisp was prepared by students and the custard pies were donated by a member of the school staff.

By 4:30 p.m., vehicles lined up in front of the school to deliver meals throughout the area, with the routes coordinated by Tobin Curtis, a resident who scheduled deliveries based on the most-efficient ways to get to homes.

For Amber Noyes, administrative assistant at the school, the event was a reminder of the need that exists in the community and the importance of taking care of one another.

“The phone calls you take from the senior citizens — a lot of them will say that they don’t have families to have Thanksgiving with so this is their Thanksgiving dinner,” Noyes said. “I think continuing that tradition, even if we can’t do it in person for the short term, is really important for people.”

Madison’s event was one of several Thanksgiving offerings in central Maine. On Saturday, 1,000 individually packaged Thanksgiving meals are to be served through a drive-thru at the Alfond Youth and Community Center parking lot in Waterville.

And in Skowhegan, grab-and-go meals will be offered on Thanksgiving at the community center. Orders can be placed prior to Tuesday by calling 207-474-6901.

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