The community of Dunsmuir celebrated Thanksgiving 2018 with multiple dinners:
The 2nd annual “Fill Your Plate” Dinner, co-sponsored by Dunsmuir Community Resource Center, Dunsmuir Community Care Team, and Dunsmuir High School, was held Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Dunsmuir High.
That was followed on Sunday afternoon by two Thanksgiving potluck dinners shared back-to-back in Dunsmuir: Cascade Community Church held its annual congregational Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner in the fellowship hall at the “rock church” on Dunsmuir Avenue; and Dunsmuir Rotary Club held its 26th annual Global Thanksgiving Potluck in the newly-remodeled Dunsmuir Community Center.
The "Fill Your Plate" dinner was prepared and served by the DHS Culinary Arts Department, which is run by Food Services Teacher Jeff Capps.
Steven Bryan, Regional Director of South Siskiyou Community Resource Collaborative, said the primary objective of the “Fill Your Plate” Dinner event is “to talk to people about food security, regarding food-assistance programs available year-round, social services, Cal-Fresh and SNAP-Ed.”
The secondary purpose, according to Bryan, is to distribute hams and turkeys to eligible community recipients. The hams and turkeys were provided by Dunsmuir Community Resource Center in collaboration with Great Northern Services and St. John's Catholic Church.
Bryan said 112 turkeys and hams were distributed, including a turkey that was donated to the Dunsmuir Rotary Club for its annual Global Thanksgiving Potluck and a couple of turkeys that were donated to the Dunsmuir Elementary School S.A.F.E. (Siskiyou Afterschool For Everyone) program.
Eligibility for Dunsmuir residents receiving a turkey or ham was determined by “self-certified income,” said Bryan, who called the “Fill Your Plate” Dinner a “re-energizer event” for the community of Dunsmuir. It brought people together to celebrate after having made it through the recent fire season. He estimated that “at least 100” people attended.
Door prizes were also awarded, including a crockpot donated by the Ford Family Foundation and filled with the makings of a ready-to-go dinner along with a Dunsmuir Market gift card donated by the DCRC. Other donated door prizes, as described by Bryan, included a Chrome tablet, “a plethora of (donated) books,” “a preschool kit” donated by DCRC to equip a preschooler with all the supplies to go to school, and a $25 gift certificate for Ray’s Market, donated by a community member.
Typically, Global Thanksgiving Potluck attendees are invited to bring a food dish to share which is representative of their ethnic heritage. The Global Thanksgiving Potluck, which has become a longstanding Dunsmuir tradition, was started in 1992 by resident Bill Cartwright, who attended Sunday afternoon’s gathering.
The roast turkey, which was donated by the Community Resource Center from the “Fill Your Plate” giveaway, was prepared and served by Dunsmuir Rotary Club members. The meal started at 3 p.m, and lasted two hours with much socializing.
Since it is considered by some to be Dunsmuir's traditional Thanksgiving meal together as a community, it was commonplace for people in attendance to be seen sharing part of their meal with friends at one table, then migrating to another table to share dessert with another group of friends and neighbors.
By 5 p.m. Sunday – after three community Thanksgiving meals in a week, Dunsmuir was well-fed, better-informed about available local food resources, and re-energized by social interaction with friendly, familiar faces.
-- Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that the hams and turkeys for the "Fill Your Plate" dinner were provided by Dunsmuir Community Resource Center in collaboration with Great Northern Services and St. John's Catholic Church.