Plans are coming together well for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Hot Springs

Plans are moving right along for the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Hot Springs.  After volunteering in previous years and then being on the organizing committee last year, Willie and Sandi Smith are pulling it all together this year.

“We like the idea of everyone coming together and sharing our families and sharing a meal and some smiles,” says Sandi Smith.  “And people look forward to it.  And they get to see folks they haven’t maybe seen since last Thanksgiving dinner and catch up, and a nice full belly.”

Donations of food, drinks and supplies make the dinner possible.

“We already have turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing and then there’ll be covered dishes brought by folks and desserts,” says Sandi Smith.  “And at this point those are the only two things that we’re lacking are the covered dishes and the desserts.  There’s been so many donations.”

The meal is Thanksgiving Day at the Hot Springs Fire Department.  It starts at noon, but if you bring a turkey or a ham arrive early so there will be plenty of time to have the meat carved.  If you are bringing a covered dish or a dessert, plan to arrive by 11:30.  And if you bring a dessert, please bring it pre-cut.

“And last year too I delivered a few dinners to some elderly folks, after the event was over, to those who couldn’t make it,” says Sandi Smith.  “If anybody has loved ones, that if they know that they’re not going to be able to provide a meal for their family or if they’re going out of town or something, just give us a call. We’ll make sure a nice hot meal gets to them.”

Volunteer help is essential.  Help is needed to set things up the afternoon before, to get things ready the morning of and then to tear down and clean up when the dinner is over.

“And if anybody in the past has been involved in any of the set up, it’s at four o’clock the day before,” says Willie Smith. “And then on Thanksgiving Day we start around ten o’clock, all of our volunteers come in. And if they’ve been a part of that in the past, please give myself and Sandi a call.  And we’re looking forward to a great day.”

And volunteers also help outside of the fire house, by providing transportation.

“It’s Chris and Cathy Singleton,” says Willie Smith.  “They have always volunteered to provide a ride for people that is in need of that.  And that’s always been a nice thing.”

The Smiths estimate that last year more than 140 people attended the dinner.   It’s free will donation and last year proceeds of more than $400 were donated to the Hot Springs Fire Department.

“This was also started many years ago by Becky Armstrong’s family, Walter Failes,” says Willie Smith. “They started it probably fifteen years ago, which Becky and them did it for a good long while.  And then Hella Armstrong helped take over and Crystal Salvatore.  And we just feel like it’s a very important part of the community that this happens every year.”

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is Thanksgiving Day, beginning at noon, at the Hot Springs Fire Department.  For more information call Willie or Sandi Smith at 540-839-2060.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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