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Bethany Congregational Church's free Thanksgiving dinner promotes food, fellowship in East Rockaway

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For the 10th straight year, local residents are invited to a festive celebration of food and fellowship at Bethany Congregational Church’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner event, which is open to all.

“It’s very nice,” said Barbara Herrmann, a parishioner at the church who hosts the event on Thanksgiving Day each year with her husband, Douglas. “It means a lot to us because my husband and I, we like traditional holidays and we have a strong sense of family and faith, so it’s nice to be able to bring that to people when they come to the event that maybe don’t have it.”

This year’s Turkey Day tradition is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. at the church, 100 Main St., East Rockaway. About 15 volunteers will be on hand to serve guests turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, bread and other traditional Thanksgiving items. Barbara Herrmann said many parishioners and residents have volunteered to donate food and the church received a gift card to Costco to shore up supplies.

Herrmann added that she was grateful for the many people who donated, as well as the volunteers who will come to the church to prepare for the feast on Thanksgiving Eve and then return to serve hungry guests on the holiday.

Those who are interested in having a meal delivered to their homes can call the church at (516) 599-5768, Herrmann said.

“Everything is strictly done by donation and it’s really a community event,” she said. “As a community, everything is done together.”