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Spirit Of Oakdale Preps For Thanksgiving Dinner
Oakdale Lions Club members gather at the H-B Saloon as they plan and prepare for the annual Spirit of Oakdale Thanksgiving Day dinner. - photo by TERESA HAMMOND

It is a community event both attended and anticipated by many and this year it will look the same as it once did.

The Oakdale Lions Club is proud to once again bring the Spirit of Oakdale Thanksgiving back within the walls of the Gene Bianchi Community Center at 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.

The free event will be hosted Thursday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend to share this hearty, homemade holiday meal.

This year’s menu will include: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie.

As they have for past events, the Oakdale Lions are looking for donations of cooked turkeys, pies, as well as volunteers willing to give a bit of their time on Thanksgiving Day for this epic event.

“We’re really looking for people to drop off cooked turkeys and pies,” longtime Oakdale Lion and event coordinator Brian Lemons said. “Everything else we take care of internally.”

The pre-cooked turkeys may be dropped off at the H-B Saloon anytime Monday, Nov. 21 or Wednesday, Nov. 23.

“The physical cooking of the turkey is the big part,” Lemons said of the need for cooked turkey donations.

Volunteers are needed at the Bianchi Community Center, both Wednesday evening, Nov. 23 for prep work from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. or on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. on.

“I’d rather have too many people sitting and drinking coffee, than not enough,” Lemons said of the need for volunteers.

He added that volunteers should just simply “show up” and they will be put to work wherever there is a task to be done.

Last year the event was hosted for the first-time post-pandemic. Due to the nature of the time, the Club hosted the meal as a drive through event, which saw much success. A total of 475 dinners were distributed by drive-thru in 2021, and 120 delivered to those unable to travel.

“I think the community really values the ability to interact with one another,” Lemons said of the turnout each year, as well as the Club’s happiness to return the event to in-person at the Community Center.

Any and all leftovers from the event will once again be donated to the Modesto Gospel Mission, ensuring that no food goes to waste.