by MATTHEW NASHSequim Gazette
Many have stocked their cupboards for family and friends. Some are readying their cars for a trip off the peninsula and others to visit this neck of the woods. But most people are looking to celebrate and be thankful for something this Thanksgiving, Nov. 24.
The spirited holiday could be gloomy for some with looming state and local cuts. Local agencies like the Sequim Food Bank are readying for the growing need.
The food bank is one of Sequim’s largest providers for those in need at the holidays. This year volunteers purchased 1,000 turkeys, thanks to support from one local family.
Over four days this week and last, families lined up for assistance.
Stephen Rosales, board president, said Thanksgiving is customarily the busiest week and that held true this year.
People began lining up at 7:30 a.m. although the facility did not open until 9 a.m.
On Friday, Nov. 18, an estimated 400 people received food. Last year, 750 people received turkeys over four days. This year, 800 people have received turkeys.
Rosales said many people are on unemployment and no longer receiving financial assistance due to cuts, so they come to the food bank for help.
Last week, he brought in 8 tons of food to give out, he said.
Longtime volunteer Cliff Vining said Thanksgiving is customarily busier than Christmas and this year is one of the busiest he’s seen.
“There’s a lot of people out of work,” he said.
Vining helped package close to 1,000 bags of food including stuffing, pancake mix, flour, canned goods and more hearty foods.
Rosales said with the increasing need, Christmas is expected to be as big of a time for donations and help as Thanksgiving. He estimates a need for about 700 turkeys.
“After Christmas, donations nosedive but the need doesn’t,” Rosales said.
The food bank is open from 9 a.m.-noon, Monday, Friday and Saturday, including Black Friday, Nov. 25. Rosales said if people aren’t able to come down for assistance, they should call him at 461-6038 or 683-1205.
Meal of sunshineOne ongoing Thanksgiving meal helps bring rays of sunshine for more than a 100 people each year. The Sunshine Cafe, 145 W. Washington St., offers a free Harvest Dinner from noon-4 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Owners Dianne and Allen Drake have made the dinner for nine years.
Dianne said the dinner grew out of their “love drop” meals for those who don’t have family around.
“It’s not so much those in (financial) need, but those who are not going to fix a meal for themselves because they don’t have family in town,” she said.
The meal includes turkey, potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, rolls and tea and coffee.
The Drakes make six turkeys each year and people come all afternoon. Reservations are recommended so there will be enough space.
Dianne said there are a lot of people who come each year and some already are calling in.
The lunch is free, but people make donations for local charities each year. The café brings in $1,200 to $1,500. This year donations benefit Violet O’Dell, a 10-year-old fifth-grader diagnosed with brain cancer, and the Sequim Food Bank.
To make a reservation, call the café at 683-4282.
Several local businesses are open Thanksgiving and offering special meals with their regular menus. Fees apply unless noted.
• IHOP, 1360 W. Washington St., open 6 a.m.-3 p.m. with a turkey sandwich and turkey dinner offered.
• Sequim VFW Post 4760, 169 E. Washington St., has a free turkey dinner from 1-5 p.m. Call 683-9546 for reservations. Donations accepted and the event is open to anyone.
• 7 Cedars Casino, 270756 U.S. Highway 101, offers a turkey dinner in the Salish Room and in the Totem Bar and Grill, 21 and over, from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
• Tandoori Fusion Cuisine of India, 820 W. Washington St., offers a turkey dinner for two. Call 683-8343 for more information.
• Tarcisio’s, 609 W. Washington St., Suite 1, makes a turkey and ham dinner from 1-5 p.m.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.