Topeka Woman Hopes No One Spends Thanksgiving Alone

By: Justin Surrency Email
By: Justin Surrency Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Volunteers expect more than a thousand guests to come together Thursday for Topeka's Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The annual tradition started 46 years ago, with the idea from five generous Topekans, that no one has to eat alone on Thanksgiving.

From turkey and gravy to yams and pumpkin pie, countless volunteers have been working tirelessly to carry on a Topeka tradition that has gone on for nearly a half century.

Pauline Johnson has been in the kitchen every thanksgiving for what began out of necessity for a community in need of a helping hand.

She said, "It was just a way to pick people up after the '66 tornado and to help out people in east Topeka, and so Thanksgiving came up, so we had a Thanksgiving dinner

That was in 1968, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner has since turned into an annual tradition that feeds thousands.

Pauline says, "It's not a rich person meal or a poor persons meal. It's for all humans to come out and eat."

Organizers say no one should eat their Thanksgiving meal alone. Pauline believes those who have experienced a community thanksgiving dinner never leave hungry, and it's all due to a secret ingredient, saying, "I think it's the love, not so much the salt and pepper we put in it, but everybody just gets together and has a good time."

On top of the thousand they expect Thursday, they also will be delivering 1,400 meals.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner goes from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Expocentre's AG-Hall.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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