Thanksgiving Day
Meals On Wheels

Spending time with loved ones is important to Scott Dunn, but so is putting a smile on the face of someone in need.

With boxes in hand, Dunn loaded up his truck and prepared to hit the road to deliver some holiday cheer and meals to local homebound residents.

"It's your duty," he said. "If you can give back to the community and enjoy helping people, you should. And these people are so appreciative."

Dunn was one of the Zanesville Jaycees members who gathered Saturday morning at Christ's Table to lend a helping hand with the organization's Thanksgiving meal deliveries. Club president Shawn Antritt said this has been an annual activity for at least the past 20 years.

"It's nice to help out and let the regular drivers have the day off with their families," Antritt said.

"They're the real heroes because they do this every day," Dunn said. "I hope my children will want to do the same thing I'm doing."

Antritt said 15 members were out in six trucks delivering 156 meals along various routes throughout the city. This accounted for about half of the total meals served Thursday through Christ's Table. With 191 meals served inside, the grand total was 347 meals. That's slightly more than the usual 300 to 325 served each year.

"Being a Jaycees member, this is a special treat for us, to bring joy to everyone," he said. "I'm proud of the Jaycees, and I know all the guys enjoy it."

Christ's Table Executive Director Keely Warden always is taken aback by the community's generosity, such as the Jaycees' actions.

"This shows their commitment," she said. "It's still overwhelming to me. This is my first year here for Thanksgiving, but I look forward to seeing our regulars and giving them Thanksgiving hugs. These meals are made with love, and it's important to Tina (Adolph, kitchen coordinator) that people have homemade meals."

The dine-in meal crowd began filtering in throughout the morning, but before they were served at festively decorated tables the many volunteers for the day were hard at work. Three, two-hour shifts with about 12 volunteers each worked in the kitchen to set up, pack meals and prepare to serve them. The well-oiled machine made sure delivery meals featured the perfect amounts of turkey, potatoes, vegetables and the rest of the trimmings.

Distributing turkey into meal trays, Lora Young started a holiday tradition.

"We just want to give back and pay it forward, and we plan on doing the same thing for the Christmas dinner here on Dec. 23," she said. "This is awesome. The shut-ins get a nice holiday meal, and it's good for people to come in and get a hot meal, too."

Warden said it warmed her heart to see the kitchen volunteers' camaraderie and willingness to step in where needed.

"The smiles on that side of the counter are just as precious as on this side," she said "They're doing something good, and they believe in what we're doing here."
Holly Richards / Zanesville Times Recorder