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Community Thanksgiving dinner a labor of love

Staff writer

Luba Holm-Brinkman plans an annual event that brings out about 300 people. When they arrive, she serves them Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. She charges nothing and welcomes all. This year the dinner will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Brown Building lunchroom at Peabody-Burns High School.

“At the first dinner, people thought it was a meal for people in need,” she said. “But that is not my reason to do this. This is for all of us as a community. We should come together and experience our fellowship with one another.”

Holm-Brinkman, who is 76, decided to organize the community event in 2010 as a way to bring people together.

“God has blessed me with a good life. He gives me the ability to do this,” she said. “It is my purpose to be a blessing and share His love. He inspired me to take the job. As long as He lets me stay healthy, I will do my job.”

Holm-Brinkman has a large cadre of volunteers who help with many facets of preparing and decorating the high school cafeteria, preparing the main course, making salads and desserts, serving, cleaning up, and delivering carry-out meals to those who cannot attend.

“People don’t realize how many volunteers it takes to do this,” she said.

Her daughters come from out of town to set up early in the day and serve during the meal.

“And my son Richard, he mostly reassures me,” she said. “He just keeps saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll get it, we’ll get it,’ and he does.”

Salads and desserts are prepared by volunteers. The dressing, potatoes, gravy, rolls, and green beans are prepared during the day at Peabody Methodist Church and transported to the high school later.

Volunteers take home turkeys from Peabody Market and bake them. Others pick them up and deliver them to the Brown Building in time for the meal.

“I could never do this by myself,” Holm-Brinkman said. “I am lucky to have so many people to help me. Community people, church and school people, adults and kids — it takes us all.”

Contributions to the dinner may be made at Peabody State Bank.

“No one is ever asked to donate, though,” Holm-Brinkman said. “God has always made sure we have enough. We also give out Peabody Bucks to random people at the dinner. This is to let them know we are glad to have them there. If someone doesn’t want to accept them, they can pass them on to someone else or give them to a group that is helping the community. We want to invite everyone — come and eat and enjoy yourselves.”

Delivered meals and carry-out dinners also are available. However, this year, orders will need to be made before Nov. 20, the day of the dinner.

“We need to know how many to prepare for,” she said. “Last time we were scrambling to get enough help to get meals ready and delivered.”

More information can be had and reservations for carryout and delivery made by calling Holm-Brinkman at (620) 983-2202.

Last modified Nov. 17, 2015

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