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Free Thanksgiving meal Thursday

GLOVERSVILLE — The Community Foundation of the Adirondack Foothills again this year will serve up thousands of free Thanksgiving dinners next week to families in Fulton and Montgomery Counties as part of the Festival of Hope Free Community Thanksgiving Meal.

Micropolis Development Group CEO Tanyalynette Grimes and Operations Officer Brad Teetz first coordinated the Thanksgiving meal last year providing meals to over 1,500 families in Fulton and Montgomery Counties.

Now an annual offering, the Festival of Hope Free Community Thanksgiving Meal is expected to serve 3,000 families this year.

“We’re definitely reaching that goal,” Grimes said Tuesday. “We are at 2,500 already and we take about 200 reservations a day.”

The free holiday meal is open to all residents of Fulton and Montgomery Counties with registrations open online until Saturday or by phone until Tuesday.

“There are no questions asked, no verifications, all they need to do is be a resident of Fulton County or Montgomery County to receive a meal,” said Grimes. “There are no limits on the number of meals, for any large order we do call and verify to make sure it wasn’t a mis-selection. It’s an honor system that says if that’s what you need then we’re happy to bring that to you.”

The meal includes roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, corn, cranberry dressing, a dinner roll and pumpkin pie. This year as a health safety precaution, the meal will be available by no-contact delivery only due to the coronavirus.

While Grimes and Teetz are once again coordinating the meal respectively as the director and operations director of the Community Foundation of the Adirondacks, a non-profit founded by Micropolis to serve the two counties, community support is requested to ensure the meal’s success.

Additional volunteers to help prepare and deliver meals in the days leading up to the holiday and on Thanksgiving Day are still being sought with sign-ups open until Friday.

“We are doing a lot of prep work this time around so there also opportunities for volunteers for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving as well,” said Grimes.

To allow for social distancing by volunteers, roughly 1,000 meals each will be prepared this year at three churches located in Gloversville and Johnstown. State mandated coronavirus safety precautions will also be followed.

Donations to contribute to the cost of providing the free community meal will also be accepted online until December. With 3,000 meals expected to be delivered at an average cost of $8.50 each, the Foundation has set a fundraising goal of $25,500 for this year and is already more than halfway there thanks to community support.

“We’re at about 57 percent of our fundraising goal and every day we get more partnerships and donations,” said Grimes. “Whether you are an individual, business, club, or religious organization, sponsoring even one meal will make a huge impact.”

It was in recognition of the impact the availability of the free Thanksgiving meals has on the community that led Grimes and Teetz to take on the challenge of organizing the free community meal in 2019 when the Twin City Council of Churches was forced to cancel the meal it had organized for over 30 years due to a lack of volunteers. Grimes explained with pride that the Community Foundation of the Adirondacks has now fully taken over the responsibility of organizing the free community meal on an annual basis.

“The tradition of having a community meal is the essence of what Thanksgiving is so as this has transitioned from one generation to the next, I hope to continue the excellence of serving those that are in my community,” said Grimes. “It’s not about charity, it’s about allowing somebody else to experience a moment of hope and peace.”

Grimes emphasized the importance of successfully executing the free community meal this year as the number of residents requesting Thanksgiving dinners is expected to nearly double from 2019.

“I think it’s most important now more than ever after we have endured the year that we have. There are many families who simply need a moment to breath from the stress and turmoil that 2020 has brought so if I can feed a family and just bring a little joy and a little hope then it is well worth it,” said Grimes.

Reservations to receive a meal, to volunteer or to donate to support the Festival of Hope Free Community Thanksgiving Meal can be made online at adkfestivalofhope.com or by calling (518) 535-9303.

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