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Thanksgiving meals for 1,500 served at Northampton Manna

  • Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon. <br/><br/>

    Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon.

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  • Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon. <br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>

    Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon.




    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Azariah Dejesus,10, of Northampton get a plate of deserts at the Manna thanksgiving diner from Lindsey Watson, of Boston here visiting her grandparents Joe and Henni Buckawski for the holidays.<br/>


    Azariah Dejesus,10, of Northampton get a plate of deserts at the Manna thanksgiving diner from Lindsey Watson, of Boston here visiting her grandparents Joe and Henni Buckawski for the holidays.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon. <br/><br/>
  • Angie Wanczk, of Holyoke looks over the deserts at the Edward Church Thanksgiving diner Thursday afternoon. <br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Azariah Dejesus,10, of Northampton get a plate of deserts at the Manna thanksgiving diner from Lindsey Watson, of Boston here visiting her grandparents Joe and Henni Buckawski for the holidays.<br/>

After nearly 30 hours of volunteer time beginning Monday morning, the food was ready and the annual Thanksgiving meal went off without a hitch, said Robert Saalfrank, the head chef for the meal.

“I think it went pretty well,” said Saalfrank, noting that this marked the sixth year since Manna took over the program from the Honor Court, which dissolved in 2006.

This included 200 meals that were home delivered to area residents and 200 for people who came to the site to for the sit-down portion, with the remainder being picked up.

For Manna, this represented a 50 percent increase over last year’s record of 1,000 meals offered for area residents.

Carl Erickson, president of the board of directors for Manna, said it is important to have the meal on the actual holiday, when many places are closed.

“There are a lot of people who likely need supplements to their incomes,” Erickson said. “A free meal now and then certainly helps.”

Saalfrank said Manna used 38 turkeys, eight pork roasts, 200 pounds of potato, 150 pounds of sweet potato, 50 pounds of onions, a case of celery and 96 cans of cranberry sauce in preparing the meal.

About 100 volunteers, many of whom signed up through an online system for the first time, assisted Saalfrank throughout the week and on Thanksgiving.

Erickson praised Saalfrank for his dedication to coordinating the meal each year.

The meal was one of at least three offered in Hampshire County. In Amherst, the Not Bread Alone soup kitchen at the First Congregational Church had a Thanksgiving meal at noon, while the Amherst Senior Center put one on at 2 p.m.

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