PITTSBURG — The St. John Lutheran Church three decade long tradition continues, the thirty-third Pittsburg Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner is set from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the church.  

On Saturday, Meadowlark Elementary K-Kids began preparing the equipment and decorations needed for the feast and on Monday Pittsburg High School Family and Consumer Science cooking students and PHS and Fort Scott Community College culinary students will start to peel 350 pounds worth of potatoes.

The planning committee expects to serve over a 1,000 traditional Thanksgiving meals, which will take 40 turkeys, 350 pounds of mashed potatoes, 16 large pans of sweet potatoes, 15 large pans of dressing, four roasters of gravy, 25 pounds of Amish noodles, 55 loaves of French bread and seven roasters of green beans, and of course there will also be over 100 desserts — including pumpkin and fruit pies, cakes, cheesecakes and pumpkin rolls.  

It all started over 30 years ago when a few St. John Lutheran church goers who had no family near decided to have a Thanksgiving meal together along with inviting other community members in similar situations, Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner Committee Member Kathy Sanley said.

“They were friends, and they got to talking,” she said. “They decided to share their food making and put word out for people who didn’t have a place to go — they were welcome.”

Now, the dinner serves over 1,000 people, and has options for dine-in, carry-out and delivery.

For the delivery or carry-out options call the church at 620-231-4085 before noon Wednesday.

There is no charge for any meal, however donations are accepted.

The whole event is put on by volunteers through the church, K-Kids, Pittsburg High School Family and Consumer Science cooking students, PHS and Fort Scott Community College culinary students, the Dishing Divas and Dudes Cooking Club, members of Phi Tau Omega Sorority and the Pittsburg Presbyterian Church. Sanley and Committee Member Lance Davis said anyone else who wishes to volunteer will be welcomed to join.

“We can always use volunteers,” Davis said. “The more the merrier — it’s just fun.”

Those interested in volunteering can call the church at 620-231-4085. Volunteer work varies from set-up to serving and busing tables.

To help defray the costs associated with the meal people may send a check to St. John Lutheran, 304 West 3rd Street, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762.  Designate Community Thanksgiving Dinner on the check.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.