We've Got The County Covered

Community Thanksgiving Dinner Set to Serve Another Fantastic Meal

The Community Thanksgiving dinner held annually in Chinook has went through a number of different ideas through the years and has been remarkable in its ability to adapt and serve the community. The dinner has been a staple in the Chinook community since the 1980's although no one is truly certain the first time it was held.

Originally the dinner was served at the Presbyterian Church before later moving to the Chinook Senior Center. The dinner is primarily funded by a free will donation at the dinner itself, but also has received a significant amount of private donations along the way. Doris Hamilton, Larry Wisch, Ron and Jeanie Dalton, Kathy O'Brien, Wilma and Perry Alcorn, Jay Eslick and so many faithful volunteers have helped maintain the dinner through the years. Betty and Mark Billmayer headed up their first Chinook Community Thanksgiving Dinner in 2016 and are back to head the annual holiday dinner this year.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinners in Chinook have overcome several obstacles - inclement weather, volunteers, funds, but in the end enough help was always secured, enough food was always made, and the community got together for a good time each Thanksgiving. In 2020 the Covid-19 Pandemic messed up the plans of all kinds of school, community and social gatherings. As a result, the Community Dinner couldn't be held at the Chinook Senior Center as it had been for decades. Organizers made a dedicated effort that some form of the dinner could still be held. The Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner was replaced with a Ham Dinner with all the trimmings. The operation was relocated to the Blaine County Fairground Commercial Building and meals were limited to delivery or pickup only.

The Community Dinner was back at the Blaine County Commercial Building in 2021 and will be there again this year and the foreseeable future. After two years of making Ham the featured entree this year will see the meal return to the Traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings followed by some wonderful Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

Deliveries will start at 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving day. Those wishing to Dine-in can stop by the Commercial Building between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no charge. A freewill collection will be on site for those who would like to help cover expenses.

Volunteers are always welcome to help in the kitchen or with deliveries. "The day before, Wednesday, we'll set up and get some things ready starting at about 9:00 a.m. Thanksgiving day we'll be there by 7:00 a.m. to finish up, do deliveries, serve and clean up. Anyone who wants to help either day could call me at 357-4100," stated Betty Billmayer. "No help will be turned away, so if you decide late that you want to help, stop by!"

To sign up for deliveries call the senior center at 357-2648, or Kathy O'Brien at 357-2937 or fill out a meal request form that can be picked up at Finley's food Farm, Chinook Pharmacy, First Bank of Montana, the Senior Center or in the Blaine County Journal newspaper. Completed forms can be returned to the same locations by Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

For those who live in town and would like to attend but don't have a way to get to the Commercial Building a Shuttle will be available, please call Kathy (357-2937) before Thursday, November 24 to set up a time.