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Waynesboro Human Services serves Thanksgiving dinner

November 24, 2000

Waynesboro Human Services serves Thanksgiving dinner



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving feast for 200 people took about three months, but the Waynesboro Human Services Center's annual dinner went off without a hitch Thursday.

It was primarily senior citizens alone for the holiday who filtered into Evangelical Lutheran Church's fellowship hall for two hours to enjoy turkey and all the fixings.

"It's an incredible effort from the community. I can't believe we pull it off every year," said Susan Brall, Human Services Center coordinator.

Waynesboro resident Janet Smedley played Christmas carols on the piano and guests joined in singing "Jingle Bells" and other holiday tunes, while about 50 volunteers scurried throughout the room filling up plates and passing out dessert.

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The center has hosted the dinner for at least 20 years, Brall said.

The feast - featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans - was free to anyone in the Waynesboro Area School District.

All of the food and supplies were donated from local business groups and service organizations.

While guests were seated at three long tables chatting with friends and new acquaintances, volunteers in the kitchen filled up the plates in assembly-line fashion.

"People can ask for what they want and the plate goes through an assembly line," said Dawn Albaugh, 24, of Waynesboro, who volunteered at the dinner for the first time this year.

Terri Gearity and her daughter, Taylor Steeves, 6, were a big hit with the crowd, pushing around a cart laden with desserts including apple, cherry and pumpkin pies, chocolate cake, muffins and brownies.

"Our dinner is later, at 5 p.m., so we get the best of both worlds," Gearity said. "It's also a good lesson for her."

Dessie and Roy Sheffler, of Waynesboro, were among the seniors at the dinner without a family gathering to attend on Thanksgiving.

"My son is at his in-laws' this year and we were alone," Dessie Sheffler said. "I got a turkey, but I gave it to Human Services."

The Shefflers said they knew several of the people at their table and were enjoying the food.

Emma Feaster, of Waynesboro, came to the dinner with several other widows before going to visit their friends in Falling Spring Rehabilitation Center in Chambersburg.

Feaster said she has cooked her share of turkeys throughout the years and enjoyed being waited on with her friends.

Audrey and Alex Milho of Waynesboro said they normally have Thanksgiving dinner with their daughter, but she went out of town with her family this year.

Audrey Milho said she saw the dinner advertised in the paper and decided to volunteer. But when she called, the center already had enough volunteers lined up.

"So I made a few cherry pies and came for dinner instead," she said.

Ray Giffin of Quincy Village joined the Milhos at the table and made sure he tried a piece of the cherry pie.

"I delivered dinner to shut-ins and came here to eat," he said.

Missie Baer, a Waynesboro Human Services Center employee, said planning the dinner began in September.

"We sent out letters to social clubs who always donate to get them prepared," she said.

The food came pouring in this week, and with the help of Rick Cook, a chef at John Wallace Kitchen, where the meal was prepared.

"There are so many people in the community alone, this is a good way for some to come out and be with friends, Baer said.

Baer said she and her own family would go out for Thanksgiving dinner.

"We're going to go be waited on," she said.

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