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Community meal a hit at People’s Pint

  • The Rankin Family of Greenfield had their Thanksgiving Day meal at The People’s Pint.  They are twins Eleanor and Atticus, 7, Bart and Sarah.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    The Rankin Family of Greenfield had their Thanksgiving Day meal at The People’s Pint. They are twins Eleanor and Atticus, 7, Bart and Sarah. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • A pay what you can Thankgiving Day meal was served up at the Peoples Piint.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    A pay what you can Thankgiving Day meal was served up at the Peoples Piint. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • The Rankin Family of Greenfield had their Thanksgiving Day meal at The People’s Pint.  They are twins Eleanor and Atticus, 7, Bart and Sarah.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • A pay what you can Thankgiving Day meal was served up at the Peoples Piint.  Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — While most of the downtown center remained quiet and closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, people were bustling to and from the The People’s Pint.

From the Federal Street restaurant and brewery, a hint of roasting turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and apple crisp replaced the usual scent of clam chowder, smoked wings and baked bread.

On Thursday, The People’s Pint held its first ever pay-what-you-can Thanksgiving meal from noon to 4 p.m. The donations go to support the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

At the far end of the restaurant, community members lined up in a buffet-style for the juicy turkey, gravy and stuffing. At the bar, several boxes contained donated dollars.

With about 200 people sitting down for a meal and $500 in cash raised half way through the day, the restaurant hopes to hold a second dinner next year and make it an ongoing tradition.

“This was a wonderful experience for us,” said Tina Bodensteiner, a restaurant manager. “It’s exciting for us to do something we haven’t done before and contribute to the community.”

Chef David “Byrd” Sargent thought up the pay-what-you-can Thanksgiving. Working in several restaurants in the area over the years, Sargent observed many restaurant workers living away from home and family who wouldn’t have a place to go for the holiday. He has participated in similar events in other restaurants.

There was also the increasing number of people in need.

“It seemed like a good idea to marry the two needs,” Sargent said. “We can help people in need for the holidays.”

The local restaurant and brewery sent a special invitation to homeless families staying in two Greenfield hotels.

From the start, Sargent said the restaurant received an “incredible outpouring of support from local farms and companies.”

Clarkdale Fruit Farms donated apples to make the apple crisp. Diemand Farm donated six 35-pound turkeys. Other community members donated pounds of potatoes, squash, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Jordan Scott from the Gill Tavern also volunteered to help cook.

“It’s fantastic. It’s so gratifying for me to be in this position where I can offer this assistance for a good cause,” Sargent said.

Though Sargent has a wife and two children at home, he said he felt compelled to help out this Thanksgiving — a desire his family understood.

Like Sargent, 10 staff members donated their time, coming to work for free on the holiday.

Bartender Ben Moris of Greenfield volunteered to work on the holiday.

Though he wouldn’t be celebrating the holiday with his family until a few days later, Moris said he felt at home at the restaurant anyway.

“This place is like a family,” Moris said. “It’s great.”

Some staff members brought their families along.

“We’re all happy to have our work family here on Thanksgiving and incorporate people from the community as well,” Bodensteiner said.

Throughout the day, new and familiar faces stopped in for dinner, Bodensteiner said.

“I’m happy to see a lot of people we know and don’t know,” Bodensteiner said.

The day was perfect, Bodensteiner said, as people stopped for a warm meal and left feeling full and thankful.

“It’s important to have a place for people to go,” Bodensteiner said. “We hope to do this in the future.”

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

Would have been there if I could have. The Pint is an amazing place.

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