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November 15, 2011 > Free Thanksgiving dinner

Free Thanksgiving dinner

By Mauricio Segura

That time of year is upon us once again. The time when cooks everywhere rush to the grocery stores seeking out the finest turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, yams, and "secret" ingredients they'll need to conjure up their annual culinary masterpieces. This feast will be set on the table for the entire family to enjoy, with thanks given for another year of life.

Unfortunately, that scenario is getting more and more difficult to accomplish in these recession ridden times. There are families struggling to put just a regular dinner on the table each night, let alone a full multi-course meal. Then there are people with no families, and of course, the homeless. This is where the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Centerville Presbyterian Church and others come in... to fill the need and give people who have limited means a great Thanksgiving feast.

The annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner and an Evening of Entertainment will be held on November 22, from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. inside the Centerville Presbyterian Church's gym. Eat a full Thanksgiving meal while enjoying local choirs, singers, and dance troupes performing on stage. Great free raffle prizes will also be given away throughout the evening. "It will be a night of great food, fellowship, and entertainment," says John Hsieh, founder of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its 13th year, the event was begun when Hsieh noticed similar events in surrounding cities, particularly Oakland. "I brought up the idea to the Taiwanese community and contacted the Centerville Presbyterian Church to see if they would let us use their facilities, and the rest is what you see today." About 700 people have shown up yearly to enjoy great food and entertainment. Hsieh adds, "We just want people to relax and enjoy the holiday. It's not just open to the homeless. There are families in need, there are elderly people who can't cook on their own, who knows, there may even be people who feel lonely and just want to be around a group. Those are the people we would like to see come out. But everyone is welcome, no one will be rejected. There are no requirements."

The entire menu is catered and consists of typical Thanksgiving food: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, yams, veggies, stuffing, salad, bread rolls, fruit, pumpkin pie, and much more. Refreshments will include coffee, punch, and milk, but if you want to bring soda from the outside, you may. Signature Taiwanese dishes will also be available for people to try. All the food was made available through individual donations by the members of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce.

This event is sponsored by the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of SFBA and Love of Taiwan Association, in Cooperation with Centerville Presbyterian Church, Centerville Free Dining Room, Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church, Formosan United Methodist Church, and Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are both needed and greatly appreciated. If interested, please call Tammy Sawyer at (510) 793-3575 ext. 11 or John Hsieh at (510) 784-7341 for a list of ways to help out, as well as to enjoy the food and entertainment.

Thanksgiving is a time of unity, caring, and sharing. Make your way to the Centerville Presbyterian Church on November 22 where everyone will be family.

Free Thanksgiving Dinner and an Evening of Entertainment
Tuesday, November 22
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Centerville Presbyterian Church gym
4360 Central Ave., Fremont
(510) 793-3575 ext. 11
(510) 784-7341

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