By Sean P. Ray
Herald Staff Writer
For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to relax, sit down with family and enjoy a good dinner. For Sarah Muir and a large pool of volunteers, Thanksgiving is about serving up turkey and other holiday favorites to several hundred people in the community.
Thursday marked the third year in a row that Muir organized free Thanksgiving meal deliveries in Titusville, a service designed to help those who would otherwise miss out on the holiday tradition. Together with her family and roughly 100 volunteers, Muir brought a full Thanksgiving dinner to around 200 people in the area. On top of that, many other meals were prepared which anyone could enjoy at Life Springs Worship Center, and a total of 500 Thanksgiving dinners were made in total.
This was the largest serving the annual event has had since it began. The first round of free dinner servings, which took place in 2017, only had 150 meals, while the 2018 iteration had 350 dinners served.
All of the food was donated, with various local organizations and companies pitching in to complete the meals. Donating groups included HomerWood, Missy’s Arcade Restaurant, the local American Legion, Warner’s Bakery and Bunyan’s.
Volunteers offering to help out also come from various backgrounds. While Muir said many of them are members of Titusville Free Methodist Church, also known as tfreechurch, several other groups also pitched in. St. James Memorial Episcopal Church offered cooking space to help with making the 500 meals, while Love In The Name of Christ lent some volunteers to assist as well. For the second year in a row, Life Springs Worship Center offered their building as the central hub of deliveries and as a dining area.
With all of these many people from across the Titusville area helping out, Muir said the event gives a “wonderful sense of community” and volunteerism.
Even with all the support, the volunteers had a daunting task ahead of them in preparing the Thanksgiving dinners.
“We cooked 25 turkeys, 300 pounds of potatoes, 75 pies, 64 green bean casseroles, 170 pounds of corn and 500 rolls,” Muir said of the workload.
Fortunately, the dinner servings have earned some renown, and Muir said more people have joined in to help out each year. In fact, she had to send some volunteers home on Thursday simply because there wasn’t enough work to go around.
While many of the deliveries were either in Titusville or fairly close, there were some farther drives volunteers had to take. One delivery involved going all the way out to Tionesta, nearly 16 miles away.
However, for Muir and the other volunteers, all of the work is worth it to help those who otherwise wouldn’t enjoy a meal. Muir said that many of the deliveries are made to the elderly or people who are disabled and can’t get out to have Thanksgiving with their families.
Other times, the requests for a delivered dinner were due to a last-minute emergency, such as someone getting sick on Thanksgiving and being unable to either make dinner or travel somewhere to have a traditional holiday feast.
Teresa Mulford, one of the volunteers helping out with the event, said that many people feel overwhelmed with emotion when their dinner gets delivered. This was the first year Mulford got involved with the event, an experience the recent retiree quite enjoyed.
“I have been very blessed in my life and I just feel that I am able to help deliver food for people who can’t get out or fix their own meals,” she said.
Muir hopes to keep holding and delivering the free dinners each Thanksgiving. She said that the number of deliveries keep growing year after year, and she aims to meet that demand.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.