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Community dinners provide food, fellowship on Thanksgiving

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SYCAMORE – It’s become a family tradition for the Browns. For the past 12 years, Ralph Brown and various members of his family will man the kitchen for a free community dinner on Thanksgiving.

That’s what they did Thursday at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John at 26555 Brickville Road in Sycamore. They did it, Brown said, because it was the right thing to do.

“We have a lot of people in the community that need it, that can’t afford it,” Brown said. “They depend on this meal.”

The free dinner at St. John’s was one of many that took place on Thanksgiving. Other dinners were at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and Feed’em Soup in DeKalb. A Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 1 to 3 p.m. today at the Kingston Friendship Center, 120 S. Main St. in Kingston.

Paul Warren, the director of the church’s outreach program, credited the Browns with being instrumental in organizing and managing the community dinner, like cooking the 24 seven- to nine-pound turkey breasts. Stuffing, squash and various desserts were also served.

Warren said he was expecting 200 to 250 people to come out for the free dinner, but he admitted that’s something of a double-edged sword.

“On one hand, you’re looking for a big turnout to help the community, but you’re hoping it’s a small turnout because you hope people aren’t going through such a hard time,” Warren said.

Mark Anderson and his wife, Kayla, drove up from Peoria to have dinner with his family, he said as 10 of them chowed down on turkey with gravy.

“It’s been our tradition for the past couple of years to come to Sycamore to visit with them to celebrate Thanksgiving,” Anderson said, adding that in the past they have gone to various community dinners.

Anderson, Brown and Warren said they were thankful for God’s presence in their respective lives.

Jim Glagowski of Kingston, on the other hand, ate at the St. John’s dinner primarily to get away from his family.

“A third of my family is totally great,” Glagowski said. “A third of my family is pretty good, but there is a few of them I can’t stand to be in the same room with. ... I try to stay away from big family events.”

Glagowski said he was thankful for his life, and that his cat Lilly is getting better. Glagowski said she was getting thin due to some thyroid issues.

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