By GALEN HAWES
ADA – For the first time in its history, Ada’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner will not take place due to safety concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We found it was prudent to forgo the Community Thanksgiving Dinner this year,” said East Central University professor Jeanene Taylor, who along with ECU’s Human Services Club has organized the dinner for years.
The tradition of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner originated on the ECU campus in the 1970’s. The idea behind it was to join Ada area residents with faculty, students and employees of the University to celebrate the holiday together. The meal has always been free of charge and for many represents the only chance to enjoy a holiday meal with the fellowship of others.
Unfortunately, organizers felt there was simply too much risk to host the event this year.
“As Covid-19 continues to spike in various areas in our state, we do not want to endanger students or the community,” Taylor said. “We look forward to a healthy November 2021 and are now discussing ways to improve the dinner to reach even more of the community.”
The annual Thanksgiving dinner has been held in various locations over the years, from the old Irving School to Wintersmith Lodge to, most recently, the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex. The ECU Human Services Club served more than 3,000 people at last year’s dinner.
Even though the popular event won’t take place this year, Taylor still praised area businesses and individuals for their generous donations throughout the years. She also praised the hard work and dedication of ECU’s Human Services Club, who serves the dinner year in and year out.
To make a donation toward next year’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner, contact Taylor at 580-559-5435; Shelley Bailey at 580-559-5460; or Melissa Inglis at 580-559-5382.