“I feel it’s very important for us to be thankful and come together and fellowship with one another (on Thanksgiving),” she said.
As the dishwasher, Tom Riford of Mercersburg has been happily getting dishpan hands for the cause since the first year the Metcalfes hosted the community meal.
The Thanksgiving dinner serves up not only a delicious meal but fellowship, Riford said.
“Thanksgiving is a day for family and friends giving thanks for what we have. I think all of us want to spend time with our loved ones and family,” Riford said. “But, we realize there are a lot of people who would like to have a great meal and might not have family and friends nearby.”
There are so many people involved in the event, he said.
“They bring pies, volunteer their time and donate money, because everybody realizes this is a good thing to be involved with,” Riford said.
The event began in the basement of the family’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Mercersburg, in 2004 with 92 people, Metcalfe said.
The number of people attending rose to 332 by the third year, she said.
With the family running out of space in the church, the dinner moved to the Lemasters Community Center in 2007.
Metcalfe said the idea for holding the dinner came from a comment made by an older woman at her church and a memory of her uncle hosting a Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Since her uncle hosted a large community Thanksgiving Day dinner in upstate New York, Metcalfe thought she might be up for the challenge.
When she heard an older woman, Amelia, commenting to a younger lady in church that she was staying home on Thanksgiving because no one invited her, Metcalfe sprang into action with her first community meal in 2004.
“She (Amelia) passed away just after last Thanksgiving,” Metcalfe said. “Over the years, she peeled potatoes, baked cakes and ate with us. This year’s dinner is dedicated to her memory.”