After volunteers opened the doors at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Thursday morning, it took no more than 10 minutes for the room to fill up for the church’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
St. Barnabas, at 110 W. North St. in Cortez, hosted the dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the holiday. Grace’s Soup Kitchen has put on the dinner at the church for about 15 years.
About 50 volunteers prepared and served turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and lots of pie. They also delivered food to homebound people across the area.
St. Barnabas priest Leigh Waggoner said she was expecting about 250 people to attend the dinner.
“I hope people come away with a good meal and meet some new people,” she said.
Volunteers prepped 21 turkeys this year, which is fewer than in past years, Waggoner said. Last year, the church carved 27 turkeys for the meal, but they were left with a lot of leftovers, she said. They opted for fewer birds this year, but there was still plenty of food — including 12 gallons of gravy.
People came from all over the Four Corners and beyond to sit down at the table. Joe G was driving across the country from Louisiana, and he stopped in Cortez to have a meal.
He appreciated the amount of work that volunteers put in.
“I’m thankful for the enthusiasm of the people who volunteer,” he said.
It was the first year Ross Gralia, of Dolores, volunteered to help at the dinner. He moved to the area with his wife about a year ago after living in Northern California for many years, he said. They wanted to become more active in the community, so they decided to get involved with the church’s programs. They decided to lend a hand for the event Thursday.
“It’s a good turnout,” Gralia said. “There are lots of people here.”
It was also the first time Susana Kirk, of Cortez, volunteered for the event. She had known about the dinner for a few years and decided to help out this year.
Kirk was happy to see so many people attend. She said it was good to be able to help out and give back to other people in the community.
“It’s a special occasion for the people who come here,” she said. “It feels good to be a part of the community.”