Editorial: Community Thanksgiving meals celebrate the true meaning of the holiday

As we saw on Monday, our community coming together to share a meal is a beautiful thing.

Downtown Dalton — more specifically a section of Hamilton Street — played host to the area's inaugural Gratefull Thanksgiving community meal. About 1,400 people shared a free meal with friends, strangers and perhaps new friends seated around long tables in the middle of the street. Gratefull — with two l's for a double meaning — was a huge success, according to organizers.

Our community's diversity was on display, both in the crowd and on the menu. Traditional turkey and dressing was served alongside tamales and other fare. As one volunteer so aptly put it, "That's Dalton."

Everything lined up perfectly for a hitch-free, first-time event. The sun shined brightly. Temperatures were creeping towards the lower 60s. The line for tables moved at a brisk pace. And the event didn't run out of the traditional Thanksgiving food.

Kudos to Believe Greater Dalton, which along with a small army of volunteers, coordinated the event. Hats off to the many sponsors that made the event a success and the throng of restaurants that donated the scrumptious food. We are excited to see Gratefull grow into an annual event.

While Gratefull was a new event, three community organizations have hosted Thanksgiving Day events for years. So if you missed out on the food and fellowship on Monday, you have three more opportunities on Thursday.

A free Thanksgiving Day meal sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Dalton is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mack Gaston Community Center, 218 N. Fredrick St.

Providence Ministries hosts a free Thanksgiving Day dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 711 S. Hamilton St.

Harvest Outreach holds a free Thanksgiving Day dinner from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at American Legion Post 112, 1118 Glenwood Ave., along with gospel singing.

The three events are open to everyone in the community, no matter your financial situation. Many people attend these meals to socialize. Some don't want to bother with the hassle of cooking a large Thanksgiving meal. Remember, these groups are always looking for helping hands to volunteer.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food and fellowship. We hope you enjoy the holiday — wherever you celebrate it.

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