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Thanksgiving Day: Hundreds attend community meal

Kim Franek and Tom Blute, both residents of Cass Lake, prepare to enjoy the annual Thanksgiving Community Meal Thursday afternoon at St. Philip’s Church. The engaged couple was among hundreds who took part in the annual event. Bethany Wesley | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – The Harrom family attended its first Thanksgiving Community Meal Thursday afternoon, opting, like many, to take part in the annual event and spare themselves from making a full dinner this year.

“With just five of us, it didn’t seem worth it” to make a full traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, said mom Melanie Harrom.

Joining her for the meal was her husband, Mike; their sons, Nick and Wyatt; and Melanie’s father, Larry Murdoff of Breckenridge, Minn.

“The stuffing is always my favorite,” said Nick, an eighth-grader at St. Philip’s School.

For Wyatt, a fifth-grader at St. Philip’s, his favorite part of the meal was the corn.

“It’s very good,” Murdoff said of the fare. “Great service.”

The meal, served this year at St. Philip’s Church, was prepared to serve around 600.

Volunteer Wanda Baumgartner said, midway through the service, that things were going smoothly and guests appeared to enjoy themselves.

She agreed that there seemed to be a lot of first-timers this year.

“Part of it, I think, was that people felt they had to be homebound or homeless to come and that’s not the case at all,” she said. “This is a community event; it’s for everyone.”

Don and Karen Myers, who live most of the year on Turtle River Lake, said it was their first community meal.

“I think it’s great to see all of the kids and families helping (to serve,” Karen said.

“I think it’s great,” Don said of the meal. “You get to meet good people, some you know and some you don’t.”