Cathy Calder and Ashley Lucero serve drinks during the annual Thanksgiving dinner held at Country Club Road Church of Christ, Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Photo
Country Club Road Church of Christ hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday, providing holiday meals for residents of area senior care centers and their caregivers.
For more than 30 years, the church has been inviting all local nursing homes to enjoy a free meal, said organizer Nici Austin, wife of the minister, Doug.
The church also delivered meals to those who could not make it.
“A lot of these folks don’t have a family and don’t get out but once a year,” she said. “They look forward to it year after year.
“It’s probably as uplifting for us as it is for them.”
Three hundred members of the church volunteered to assist in serving, cooking and cleaning up. Austin said the church provided close to 450 this year.
“We just give them a chance to get out and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with friends and people they haven’t seen in a long time,” said Tabatha Perkins, church office manager.
The church’s multi-purpose room, cheerfully decorated for the occasion, buzzed with activity and conversation as seniors and other care center residents ate and caught up with each other. Perkins helped organize the event, working with nursing homes to ensure residents could attend.
The Casa Maria Health Care Center and Pecos Valley Rehabilitation brought 28 of its residents. Staffers of the Center, including Activity Director Julia Matta, Activity Assistants Shannon Moran and Paula Garcia and Nurse Sandra Mitchell stood together in line for food.
Garcia has attended the dinners for 15 years. She said the first year she attended she was “blown away” by the church’s gratitude.
“Every year we come, we never see a grumpy face,” she said. “They are so caring and so giving. You always see the teamwork and we all just try to pitch in.
“It’s just a good feeling when you come here. I’ve never felt that welcome anywhere else.”
She said they have the best food, too — especially the dressing. “They put something in it,” she said. “Maybe there’s some blessings in their dressing.”