OSSINING, N.Y. Sue Sincerbeaux was cooking a 20-pound turkey and defrosting a 16-pound turkey on Tuesday morning in preparation for Thanksgiving day lunch at the First Presbyterian Church.
"We have to have 20 turkeys," the church secretary said as she filled a sink with warm water so that the frozen turkey could sit in it. "And we have 100 pounds of potatoes. Volunteers peel potatoes all Wednesday night, and they mash them on Thursday."
The Thanksgiving day lunch is free and anyone is welcome, said Lynda Clements, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, located at 34 South Highland Ave. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and other Thanksgiving food is donated by people and cooked by volunteers.
"It's for the community. People from every walk of life are there to eat, to help out. It's the neighborly thing to do," Clements said. "It's sit-down family style with Thanksgiving decorations that are made by elementary school students."
About 130 people were served Thanksgiving meals last year, Clements said, and another 35 people, including people in nursing homes and people who can't easily leave their homes, were delivered take-out meals.
Volunteers help to prepare, serve and deliver food, and they also chat with people eating and clean up, Clements said. Food is served on regular plates, not disposable plates.
"I think it's one of the greatest holidays because it's completely universal. It's not tied to one faith or one event in history," Clements said. "We give thanks and enjoy the fruits of the earth with each other."
"(Thanksgiving) is my favorite holiday because it's the one time we celebrate our family and people instead of things," she said.
Food donations are still welcome, Clements said. The easiest way for the church to accept donations is if people prepare the food in their home and bring it over to be served on Thursday.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Marion Farrell at 914-762-2572, or they can just show up, Clements said. Thanksgiving meals will be served beginning at noon on Thursday.
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