The Prineville Eagles are hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday for local residents in need of a place to go for the holiday

by: JASON CHANEY - Prineville Eagles members Erma Ward (left) and Bobbi Asher pose behind a Thanksgiving table decorated for the upcoming dinner.

For many, Thanksgiving is a time to not only give thanks, but enjoy a delicious meal with friends and loved ones.

However, some people struggle to afford a meal or go through the holiday without and friends to share the holiday dinner.

With that in mind, Prineville Eagles member Erma Ward decided the community needed a place where people can gather together and enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal.

“Everyone is invited,” Ward said. “Anybody who doesn't have anywhere to go, doesn't want to eat alone, or are homeless or anything.”

The early afternoon meal will be held at the Eagles Lodge and includes all the Thanksgiving favorites that Americans have enjoyed for years.

“It is a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” Ward said.

Everything from turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, to corn, green beans, and yams will be served as well as pies for dessert. The lodge will be decorated with a variety of yellow, brown, and orange decor befitting the event, and turkey-themed centerpieces will adorn each table in the building.

Since this marks the first year of what Ward hopes will be an annual event, she does not know how many guests to expect. However, she is anticipating as many as 150 or more visitors during the two-hour meal.

To prepare for the feast, the Eagles purchased five turkeys of 20 pounds or greater, about 100 pounds of potatoes, as well as a plentiful supply of other Thanksgiving staples. They will spend nearly the whole prior Wednesday preparing the meal, and come in mid-morning on Thanksgiving Day to finish cooking.

Although the dinner is free, the Eagles will be accepting the donations.

“The donations will go back to the Eagles for putting the money out for the dinner,” Ward said, while adding that the money will also go to other projects that further their mission of “People helping people.”

The free dinner has resonated well with fellow Eagles members. Ward noted that she didn’t have any problem recruiting volunteers for the event. She is now hoping that the community will respond the same way.

“We are going to see how it turns out,” Ward said. “Come in and make a friend. Find somebody to eat with.”

The Prineville Eagles will host their free Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Eagles Lodge, 235 N.E. Fourth St. For more information, call the Eagles Lodge at 541-447-7659.

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