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Funds needed for Havre de Grace community Thanksgiving dinner

About $3,000 has been raised so far for this year's Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Havre de Grace, but at least another $1,000 must be raised in the next week to determine if the event will take place.

"If I can get to $4,000, it's going to be a go," Don Osman, who is working with the Community Projects of Havre de Grace Inc. to put on the Thanksgiving dinner, said.

Members of the student service group at Havre de Grace High School, SMILES, or Service Makes an Individual's Life Extra Special, put on the dinner in past years.

Osman, a retired Havre de Grace High English teacher, founded SMILES in 1984.

The group folded after the 2012-2013 school year, however, and Community Projects of Havre de Grace took over the community dinner.

The "First Annual Havre de Grace Community Thanksgiving Dinner" is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, at the dinner's regular venue, the Church of St. Patrick community hall.

It is being organized through the Community Projects group's Thanksgiving Dinner Committee.

Osman said Tuesday that organizers will determine on Oct. 15 whether the event will take place. He said it depends on raising enough money to purchase food, as well as eating utensils, dinnerware and containers to bring meals to local residents.

He said the Oct. 15 deadline is for scheduling purposes.

"We need to find a supplier and order the food so the process can begin," Osman said.

He encouraged members of the community to donate money, food and materials such as the dinnerware, and sign up to volunteer.

Osman encouraged people to call before donating items to ensure they are needed.

He said funds have come from Havre de Grace-area businesses, churches, civic organizations and individuals so far.

Osman said he has been fielding questions from those who have volunteered in the past about whether the dinner will take place this year.

"It's something that those that have worked the dinner before have a passion for," he said. "I know the interest is there and I know the need is there; there's just so many people that depend on that [dinner]."

Osman said at least 125 people volunteered last year. Volunteers are needed to cook, serve food, deliver meals and clean up after the dinner.

He said the more volunteers who can deliver meals the better, because it allows volunteers to spend time with the recipients.

Many of those who receive meals are senior citizens who can't come to the dinner, and their meals are typically delivered well outside Havre de Grace, as far away as Joppatowne and North East.

"It's such a special day, the name 'Thanksgiving,'" Osman said. "We have a lot to be thankful for; even though things seem to be tough in the country right now there's still a lot to be thankful for in our daily lives."

Checks can be made out to "Thanksgiving Dinner Committee, Community Projects of Havre de Grace Inc." and mailed to Community Projects of Havre de Grace Inc., 224 N Washington St., Havre De Grace, Md., 21078.

Anyone who has questions, wants to make reservations for the dinner or would like to volunteer or donate food and materials should call 410-939-5412.

Havre de Grace City Councilman David Glenn mentioned the dinner during Monday's council meeting and encouraged residents to support the event.

"That's where we need your support," he said. "They need donations and they need volunteers... Get your donations to [Community Projects] so that we can keep that tradition going on."

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