Seniors, community blessed with free Thanksgiving meals

Volunteers man the assembly line, making plates of Thanksgiving dinners for Meals on Wheels seniors at Toni's Kitchen on Thursday. - David Bell Photo/GIla Valley Central

THATCHER —The holiday weekend started early with two sets of volunteers making sure everyone had a hot, fresh meal for Thanksgiving.

After a two-year layoff, Toni’s Kitchen owner Letty Garcia once again prepared full turkey dinners with all the trimmings for 160 homebound seniors.

“During COVID, all I did was deliver the food. I still did it, but it wasn’t the same; this is more fun,” Garcia said.

Stephanie Nabor, SEACUS executive director, third from left, poses for a photo with Toni’s Kitchen owner Letty Garcia, third from right, volunteers and the Garcia family after Garcie prepared 160 Thanksgiving meals for Meals on Wheels. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Garcia and her family’s day started at 3 a.m., preparing the turkey and other hot dishes to be delivered by volunteers from Southwest Energy and Southeastern Arizona Community Unique Services, part of SEACUS’ Meals on Wheels program.

“It takes a lot of help to get it done, and we’re lucky and blessed that, this year, we have plenty of hands,” said Stephanie Nabor, SEACUS executive director.

Server Debbie Kranpitz, center, looks on as Deborah Norton puts sweet potatoes on Arlen Rennels’ plate during the free community Thanksgiving meal from the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

At noon, about 500 free meals for the community was served by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion.

“Horne Freedom Ford made sure we had all the hams we need, Thriftee got us a whole bunch of turkeys, and the rest have been donations,” said Kat Sticklin with the Legion Auxiliary.

Some of the meals were deliveries to homebound senior, made by the Legion Riders. Sticklin said the volunteers will be at it again for Christmas meals, all delivered by the Legion Riders.

The Thanksgiving event by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion not only offered a free meal, but a chance to meet new people. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central