Thanksgiving Feast Brings Community Together

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The annual community Thanksgiving dinner at Rim Country Middle School heads a list of holiday events sponsored by local churches and civic organizations.

The holiday feast at RCMS, which usually attracts 1,000 diners who would otherwise be alone or can’t cook on Thanksgiving, runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday. Unlike last year when meals were served in three shifts, diners can show up any time.

“This is a great opportunity for people who are single and for families who for one reason or another don’t want to or can’t cook,” Bob Ware, executive director of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, said.

Pat Johnson of the chamber, who is coordinating the event along with Helen Moss, said the Payson community has responded as it usually does to the call for volunteers to help with the event.

“We’ve had a wonderful response in terms of volunteers,” Johnson said. “We could use a few more people delivering meals to shut-ins, but other than that we’re in good shape.”

The chef this year will once again be Bob Van Steenburgh.

The Tonto Apaches stepped forward to fund the dinner when it appeared it would be cancelled, but donations of fresh turkeys and cash are still encouraged.

While there is no charge for the dinner, attendees must pick up tickets in advance at the chamber office at Highway 87 and Main Street or PostNet in the Safeway shopping center.

For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation, call Moss at 474-9867 or Johnson at the chamber (474-4515).

Other Thanksgiving events:

Ecumenical Service

An ecumenical community Thanksgiving service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Payson United Methodist Church. The service is sponsored by Community Presbyterian, Mount Cross Lutheran and Payson United Methodist churches.

A mass choir and music will be provided, and the Rev. Chuck Proudfoot will give a meditation. An offering will be received for the local food bank. For more information, call 474-0485.

St. Philip’s Catholic Church

A free dinner will be served at noon Thursday at St. Philip’s Catholic Church. The event is open to the public, but those planning to attend are asked to make a reservation by calling Pam Jones at 474-3821.

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