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Thanksgiving meal requests surpass expectations

Linn Ann Huntington
Special to Hays Daily News

Organizers for the Community Thanksgiving Feast had initially planned on distributing 750 free meals for this year’s drive-thru pickup, the first time the event has been done this way.

But 783 meals were reserved by the Nov. 14 deadline, said the Rev. Celeste Lasich, head of the organizing committee. So the amount of food ordered was increased.

Reserved meals will be distributed between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at Gella’s Diner, 117 E. 11th St.

Lasich said organizers know that some of those meals will not get picked up, so individuals wanting a meal who failed to reserve one may get in line at 1 p.m. Leftover meals will be distributed until 1:15 p.m., she said.

Pre-registered individuals wanting free bags of groceries will be able to pick those up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Community Assistance Center, 208 E. 12th St. Any leftover bags will be distributed to unregistered individuals beginning at 1 p.m., Lasich said.

Volunteers collected non-perishable food items on Saturday, Nov. 21, at several Hays stores. Lasich said organizers were pleased with the “solid amount” of items donated.

Volunteers will be sorting and bagging those items beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, in the gym of Celebration Community Church, 5790 230th Ave. Ken Brooks, head of the collection and bagging efforts, said walk-in volunteers are welcome to help.

Lasich said organizers have worked with the Hays Police Department on traffic control efforts near Gella’s, and she thanked Hays Medical Center for the use of its traffic cones and other traffic control devices.

Those picking up meals are asked to come down Oak to 11th Street, then turn right onto 11th. Traffic in the alley behind Gella’s will be one-way toward Main Street, she said.

The Ellis County Ministerial Alliance is once again sponsoring the Community Thanksgiving Feast. Lasich said the ECMA is providing a free meal to all law enforcement and emergency response people who are working the day shift on Thanksgiving Day.

“We want to thank all the front-line workers and emergency responders with a very good meal,” she said.