Every year since 2001, employees of Southwest Behavioral Health Payson have donated their time and money to prepare and serve a full Thanksgiving meal for the center’s consumers and their families.
SBH employees start planning for the feast in September and view this as a meaningful way to give something back to their valued consumers.
Now in its 10th anniversary, the event has grown significantly since it started — mushrooming from a few dozen to about 275.
This year, the SBH staff is reaching out to the community for help in supplying important Thanksgiving side dishes, such as cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and pies. Monetary donations are also welcomed.
“Payson is filled with generous benefactors, who have already donated all the turkeys we need,” according to Nanci Stone, vice president of SBH Payson. The Tonto Apache Tribe, Chili’s, Kiwanis of Zane Grey Country, Payson Apothecary, QOL Pharmacy, SBH board member Don Logue and Safeway rallied and donated 37 turkeys, more than 500 pounds, for this year’s feast.
Up until 2008, the meal was served at the SBH Payson facility on Aero Drive, but several years ago it outgrew those accommodations and was relocated to Mount Cross Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall on Highway 260, where it continues today.
Employees draw from their own personal funds to buy food, prepare it using family recipes and serve it throughout the day. The staff decorates the halls and arranges transportation for families who would otherwise not be able to attend the celebration.
“We don’t see this tradition as a hand out, but a thank you to our customers, many of whom have been served by the facility for a number of years. It’s a celebration we all enjoy,” Stone adds.
Food donations are welcomed Wednesday, Nov. 16 through Thursday, Nov. 17 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. A quick phone call to let the staff know what is being donated would be deeply appreciated. For all donations, please contact Diane Roberson at SBH Payson, (928) 474-3303 or 595-1859. Monetary donations can be mailed to SBH Payson, 404 W. Aero Dr., Payson, AZ 85541.