Williamsport Moose Lodge Thanksgiving meal focuses on community

November 20, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • John Dennison, an officer with the Williamsport Moose Lodge and a volunteer with the third annual Thanksgiving community meal, sits down to enjoy his meal with others Sunday afternoon.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Linda Kline remembers how much work goes into preparing a Thanksgiving meal.

“I loved doing it for the kids,” said Kline, 61.

With her children grown, Kline doesn’t cook the big holiday meal anymore. So she went to the Williamsport Moose Lodge’s third annual community Thanksgiving meal on Sunday.

“It’s my birthday and I’m by myself, and I want to be around people and enjoy a nice dinner,” said Kline, who will celebrate her birthday with her family on another day and has been invited to two family Thanksgiving dinners.

Williamsport Moose members served the meal to 178 people Sunday at the lodge on North Conococheague Street, said Clint Rawlings, lodge governor.

“I think we did really good,” Rawlings said.

Last year, the lodge served 135 people.

Eleven people and local businesses donated 16 turkeys for this year’s feast.

They included Cort Meinelschmidt, co-owner of Sentinel Capital Solutions, who brined a turkey Saturday and brought it Sunday, fresh from the oven.

A self-professed Food Network junkie, Meinelschmidt, 32, got the recipe from Alton Brown’s show, “Good Eats.” For the brine, he let the turkey sit submerged in a saltwater solution with ice on Saturday, the Williamsport High graduate said.

Moose members carved the turkeys, and were busy in the lodge’s kitchen making gravy and preparing homemade mashed potatoes.

Past Senior Regent Peggy Huff, 63, said her hands turned brown Saturday from helping to peel 100 pounds of potatoes. She washed her hands with bleach, but the brown coloring didn’t come off until several other washings later.

Hagerstown resident Joyce Hilgeman stirred seasonings into the chopped, boiled potatoes before using an electric hand mixer to mash the potatoes in a large metal rectangular dish.

In addition to the turkey and mashed potatoes, more than 200 stuffing balls were prepared, as well as corn, green beans and three gallons of gravy, said Senior Regent Melissa Weaver, 47, of Williamsport.

Doris Slayman, 81, of Hagerstown, said she peeled and chopped onions, and chopped celery for the stuffing balls. She also made chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, one of many desserts offered Sunday.

Homewood at Williamsport donated about 200 cookies, and several Moose members made cakes and pies, Rawlings said.

Dana Dennison, a junior regent, made pumpkin rolls.

Anything with pumpkin was a popular choice, said Dillon Hutson, 14, and Colton Shirley, 12. Members of Boy Scout Troop 17, the youths were serving dessert to the diners.

Among the other donations were fruit from Edible Arrangements in Hagerstown, rolls from Holsum and potatoes from Greensburg Farm Market, Moose members said.

In addition to baking cake, Slayman contributed some humor to this year’s meal by supplying Thanksgiving-themed hats to volunteers.

Frank Weaver, 45, was sporting a turkey on a pilgrim hat.

“They love it,” Weaver said.

Diners were enjoying the food, too, he said.

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