The Payson Ministerial Association representing 40 area churches is throwing the Rim country's largest Thanksgiving dinner, and the entire community is invited.
The event, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, will be held in the Rim Country Middle School cafeteria. Organizers are anticipating up to 1,000 diners who will be served in three shifts.
"Before, there were a couple of churches doing this and it kept getting larger and larger," Linda Leonard, one of the organizers, said. "Helen Moss (another organizer) said, 'Why not make it a whole community dinner?'"
"This isn't charity, but we don't want anyone in the community planning to spend the day alone to be deprived, or anyone who needs a dinner or who might not have the facilities to cook a dinner not to have one," Moss said. "This is non-denominational and free for anybody in the community. We want this to become an annual event where the people of the Rim country can come together."
While the dinner is free, tickets are required to balance the number of people eating during the three shifts 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 12:30 to 2 p.m., and 2 to 3:30 p.m. Free tickets are available at both Circle Ks and at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce on the northwest corner of Main Street and Highway 87.
The turkey dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, cranberries and the traditional trimmings, will be prepared by local chef Bob Van Steenburgh.
All the food is being purchased locally.
Payson United Methodist Church members will be baking 50 pies, and Community Presbyterian Church is providing the rolls. While the organizers are looking for donation of 20 more turkeys, others are being provided by First Assembly of God, Church of the Holy Nativity, Mount Cross Lutheran and Payson Habitat for Humanity.
Moss is also looking for more volunteers to help with various aspects of the dinner, and she is looking for a truck or other large vehicle to pick up and return tables and chairs.
She also wants to hear about anybody not included on the Meals on Wheels list who is unable to come to RCMS for dinner.
Call Moss at 474-9867 and leave a message.
Rim Country Rotary-Payson is again making Thanksgiving food boxes for distribution by area churches to families in need.
Pastors should call Rev. Robert Elliott at 468-8439 to arrange pickup.