McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 28, 2013

Everything set for Community Thanksgiving Dinner

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — “Everybody who sits down right here, if they go away hungry, it’s their own fault.”

Those were the words of District 2 Pittsburg County Commissioner Kevin Smith at the George Nigh National Guard Armory, as volunteers worked to prepare food for the 28th Annual Pittsburg County Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Now, everything is ready and all that’s needed is for those who signed up to participate in the Community Thanksgiving Dinner to come to the armory ready to eat.

Others will be picking up carry-outs or awaiting home deliveries.

Plans called for the free holiday meal with all of the trimmings to be served around noon today (Nov. 28) at the George Nigh National Guard Armory at the corner of Third Street and Polk Avenue.

Organizers of the event said those who have called in for carry-outs can begin picking them up at the armory around 11 a.m., while volunteers planned to begin home deliveries around 9 a.m. to those who have made arrangements in advance.

Volunteers have worked for several days to prepare the quantities of food needed for the annual holiday event. Jim Kelley and Charlene Spears worked together to come up with the numbers with which organizers have been working to prepare the community Thanksgiving dinner.

They’re starting with 50 turkeys, cooked and deboned to be placed in the dressing.

A variety of other ingredients have also gone into the dressing, including 600 pounds of onions, 200 pounds of flour and cornbread, 20 dozen eggs and countless chopped celery stalks.

Huge quantities of potatoes have been whipped up for the meal, while 25-to-30 gallons of giblet gravy are ready to be served.

Cooks have also prepared 150 gallons of green beans to be served as part of the main course.

“We’ve got 20 gallons of cranberry sauce,” added Spears. Volunteers will also have 3,600 rolls to serve.

For dessert, they’ll slice 420 pumpkin pies, with Pepsi, Coca-Cola and tea set to be served as drinks for the event.

After all the work that goes into the project, volunteers are looking forward to serving the meals.

“It’s always fun on Thursday morning,” Kelley said.

“Crowds gather; people are jolly and they get a good feeling from it too.”

Contact James Beaty at