WESTPORT, Conn. — Hundreds of people from all walks of life will come together under one roof in Westport on Thursday to break bread — literally — during the 43rd annual Thanksgiving Community Feast.
This Westport tradition was created by Saugatuck Congregational Church as a way to aid the homeless during the holiday season. Over the years, the event has grown and evolved to become a true community event open to all.
“The feast is a wonderful expression of community,” said Frank Basler, chairman of the Saugatuck Church Mission Board, which oversees the event. “Ecumenical partners plan and manage it together. Local businesses donate goods and financial support. More than 130 people volunteer their time and talents, and the diversity of the guests who attend is extraordinary."
Between 300 and 350 people are expected to attend the feast, Basler said, which is typically the attendance year after year. Guests will be treated to a full holiday meal — from turkey and all the fixings, to delicious pies and other treats for dessert.
To make this year’s event a reality, Saugatuck Church is partnering with Westport’s Temple Israel and the Unitarian Church, Basler said. The event will once again be hosted at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where it’s been held since a pre-Thanksgiving fire devastated Saugatuck Church in 2011.
Food for the feast is being donated by a number of local businesses, like Stew Leonard’s and Brit-Air, which have together donated a total of 44 turkeys, Basler said. Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Oscar’s Deli, Panera Bread and Newman’s Own are also donating food for the feast.
Basler said a host of other local organizations are pitching in to make the event possible, including Coleytown Elementary School, Coleytown Middle School, Boy Scout Troop 36, Temple Israel’s Early Childhood Center, the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, the Westport Garden Club, Fairfield County Bank and People's Bank.
Most importantly, Basler said the event is successful due to the hard work of the hundreds of people in the community that volunteer their time.
“I’ve managed many things in life and this is one of the easiest because of the commitment and motivation of this crew and all the people that come out of the woodwork to help out,” said Basler. “This is truly an act of love by many people, and I think everyone, including all our guests, will have a wonderful time.”
The feast will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christ & Holy Trinity is at 75 Church Lane. For more information about the feast, visit the Saugatuck Church website.
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