With hands joined in prayer, a group sitting at one of the many tables at Tecumseh’s community Thanksgiving dinner at city hall paused Thursday to give thanks before partaking in a community Thanksgiving meal.
At a table nearby, three longtime friends from the area enjoyed their meal and had a good time visiting with each other.
Area residents enjoyed turkey and all trimmings Thursday as Randy and Suzanne Gilbert hosted the eighth annual Tecumseh Community Thanksgiving dinner.
The event, which has grown from about 100 meals served the first year to well over 400 meals this year, is the place to be on Thanksgiving day.
With a group of about 30 volunteers making it all possible, what started as a way for the Gilberts to give back to the community, has turned into a tradition.
“Many say what a blessing it is for them to be able to come and do this,” Suzanne Gilbert said.
With Tecumseh having a large senior population, the event also provides a place for them to eat Thanksgiving dinner.
“If you have family to go to that’s wonderful, but if you don’t, then you have family when you come here to eat,” Suzanne Gilbert said. “It’s a really good meal and we’re thankful to be able to provide a good meal for everyone.”
Randy Gilbert said the event is possible with the help of an unbelievable and amazing group of volunteers who help.
It all began with an idea. With such a small family, Suzanne Gilbert said they wanted to start a dinner for the community and it’s grown into what feels like a large family gathering each year for the sit-down dinner.
Doris Blakley, who grew up in Tecumseh but now lives in Bethel, along with her friends, Edna Edsall and Onalee Cearley, who are sisters, was among those enjoying the meal and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
And while all three of them have cooked plenty of Thanksgiving meals over the years, now that they’re retired, it’s nice for them to have somewhere to go for the traditional feast.
For sisters Edna and Onalee, who have both lost their husbands, the day is about spending time together and visiting with others.
For Doris, who will see her family this weekend, it was a perfect way to enjoy her Thanksgiving Day.
“I never cook,” Doris said.
And for all three, it was a day of giving thanks.
For Edna, who at 80 years old said she is thankful for all the help she receives, there’s many blessing, including her sister.
Page 2 of 2 - Onalee, who is 90, said, “I’m thankful for the long Christian life the Lord’s given me.”
Doris is thankful for living in the United States — “the best place in the world to live.”