Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
All across Westport, families and friends will gather to enjoy this warm, nourishing and traditional American holiday.
Putting on such a celebration is a lot of work. But it’s nothing compared to what goes on at Saugatuck Congregational Church.
For 47 years, the handsome white building near the center of town has hosted a community Thanksgiving feast. (With a little help from Christ & Holy Trinity Church around the corner, after the fire a few years ago.)
It’s a free meal. All are welcome. And hundreds come.
Some are alone. Others prefer the company of a community. No one asks questions. They just gather together, and enjoy the day.
A small part of the Thanksgiving Community Feast.
The turkey-and-all-the-trimmings event goes like clockwork. After nearly half a century, the church has it down pat.
Yet it takes a village to throw a townwide feast.
Over 100 volunteers make it happen. Saugatuck Church members, congregants from every other religious institution, non-believers — all pitch in.
They donate food, decorate the hall, do kitchen prep, set up tables, check in guests, cook, carve, serve, oversee the buffet table, bus tables, wash dishes and (of course) clean up. Three of them play keyboard, drums and sax, just for kicks.
They provide rides to the church for those who can’t drive, and deliver meals to those who are homebound.
They work magic.
A few of the volunteers at a Saugatuck Church Community Thanksgiving Feast.
The name of the holiday is Thanksgiving. Many of the helpers at tomorrow’s feast work behind the scenes. They never hear thanks.
That’s not why they do it, of course. Still, it’s nice to know you’re appreciated.
Which is why all the hundreds of Community Thanksgiving Feast volunteers — past, present and future — are this week’s Unsung Heroes.