NQCC to offer Thanksgiving meals to the elderly, homebound

  • North Quabbin Community Coalition FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2018 5:14:04 PM

REGION — Each year, a group of volunteers spends their Thanksgiving preparing dinners and delivering them — free of charge — to area seniors. 

In the spirit of the holiday, the teams of volunteers stay late at the North Quabbin Community Coalition the night before cooking, arrive early the next morning for more prep work and then drive the meals to hundreds of homes. 

“We get to about 250 (deliveries) every year,” said NQCC Project Assistant Katrina Burton. “This year we’re planning on 300.”

It’s the 10th year of the NQCC Thanksgiving meal drive, a one-of-a-kind program for the nonprofit focused on improving the quality of life for area residents. According to Burton, the Thanksgiving program started because Meals on Wheels does not deliver on holidays. 

Sponsored by the NQCC, the Athol Orange Rotary and the Pioneer Junior Women’s Club, all meals are cooked in-house at the NQCC and come with “turkey and all the fixings,” Burton said. 

Residents of Athol, Erving, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Warwick and Wendell can call 978-249-3703 by Nov. 19 to reserve a delivery. 

“It’s meant to be for the elderly and the homebound,” said Burton, although she added that particularly needy families will not be denied the meals. “Volunteers go in early and work very hard packaging them and making sure everything is ready for them.”

A free sit-down meal, too

Besides the NQCC delivery program, the Athol Council on Aging holds the William J. O’Brien Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner each year, a free, sit-down meal held at noon on Thanksgiving day at the Athol American Legion at the corner of Exchange Street and Pequoig Avenue. The two charities are separate, Burton said, but both the NQCC and Council on Aging spread the word of each other’s programs to get the most meals to the most people. 

Burton noted that this year’s William J. O’Brien dinner should be particularly large, since the Johnson Farm Thanksgiving dinner at the Athol Orange Elks Lodge, which typically drew around 600 people, is no longer taking place.

Reservations are required for the William J. O’Brien dinner, and those who wish to attend should call 978-249-8986.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.

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