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Moose hosting free Thanksgiving feast

November 10, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

WILLIAMSPORT - Looking to do more for its community, the Williamsport Moose is holding its first community Thanksgiving dinner this month, said Russ Robinson, governor for the local club.

The free dinner will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, at the Moose Family Center at 119 N. Conococheague St.

Organizers were originally expecting 200 to 300 people, but those numbers have gone up to 300 to 400, Robinson said.

"We're doing it because the economy is really bad right now. A lot of families are struggling," said Melissa Weaver, a senior regent for the Williamsport Moose. "(There are) a lot of people who do not have families around here, who eat meals alone."

The menu is classic Thanksgiving with turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, sauerkraut and desserts.

After spreading information about the dinner by word of mouth and church bulletins, the club has received assistance from other groups, Robinson said. The Rotary Club of Williamsport is donating some turkeys and time, and employees at Homewood at Williamsport are donating baked goods and other items.

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Doris and Cheryl Slayman, of the Williamsport Women of the Moose, are donating their time to make pies and cakes, Robinson said.

The Williamsport Moose was founded in 1997, Robinson said. Internationally, Moose clubs are known for their charitable contributions to their communities.

"We've done a lot of things in the last four or five years," Robinson said, including having holiday parties for local youths.

"We're reaching out, trying to make sure people know we're there. We're not millionaires by any sort, but we help with what we can do," Robinson said.

The club also has sponsored local sports teams, held a spaghetti dinner for the Williamsport High School varsity and junior varsity soccer teams, supported the town's Fourth of July fireworks celebration and town employees' annual car show, and supported other events and groups. Robinson said.

A year ago, the club helped some Williamsport-area families, providing them with enough food for a week rather than just one holiday meal, Robinson said.

The idea for the Thanksgiving dinner came from Robinson and Weaver, an extension from helping provide meals for those families last year.

"It's just kind of snowballing," Weaver said.

By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

Melissa Weaver, a senior regent for the Williamsport Moose, and Russ Robinson, club governor, are preparing for the club's first Thanksgiving community dinner on Nov. 22.

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