By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
GRIGGSVILLE, Ill. -- A community effort in Griggsville hopes to make sure that no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving.
The free community Thanksgiving dinner will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Griggsville American Legion.
"We welcome anyone that does not have a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner this year to join us for a great meal," said Sharon Daniels, who helps organize the dinner. "We just want to share to all."
Volunteers still are needed to help cook, serve and clean up at the fifth annual dinner provided through donations of area residents.
Donations are welcome of turkeys and food products as well as monetary contributions to help pay for the meal.
"We have different people that donate turkeys, pies," said Jack Bishop, who started the dinner and is back this year as a volunteer.
A crew of around 20 volunteers start the dinner preparations on Wednesday, "then finish it up in the morning," Bishop said. "We usually do anywhere from 10 to 12 turkeys with everything else. There's always plenty of food."
The menu features traditional Thanksgiving favorites along with turkey -- homemade dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, noodles, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
"It's really giving back to the community, making sure people have a good meal on Thanksgiving and a place to go," Bishop said.
Bishop and his sister started the dinner when he owned the Purple Martin Inn restaurant and wanted to do something for the community.
"It really surprised me five years ago to see that many people didn't have a place to go," Bishop said. "Some people can't afford to cook a big meal. Some had money to do it but had no place to go. It's a good way to fellowship with people in the community and still get a good meal."
After the restaurant closed, the dinner moved to a church and, this year, to the Legion to accommodate more people.
"The biggest year we had was about 300," Bishop said. "For a town the size of Griggsville, for 300 people to come in, that's pretty good."