Northampton, Amherst prep for Thanksgiving community dinners

  • Leeann Masloski surveys the desserts before making her decision with Crystalstar Labato, a volunteer at the MANNA Thanksgiving dinner in Northampton at Edwards Church in November 2018.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/20/2019 1:57:11 PM

Area residents will have several opportunities on and before Thanksgiving to take part in community meals, whether dropping in to enjoy the food or getting a meal home delivered, volunteering to prepare the turkeys, hams and desserts, or delivering to those who are homebound.

In Northampton, the MANNA Soup Kitchen, for the 12th year, will serve a Thanksgiving Day meal for about 200 people at Edwards Church at 297 Main St. between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

For those who can’t make it to the church, home-delivered meals can be ordered through Sunday by calling 695-3514. The delivery service, which will provide another 300 or so meals, is available to residents in Northampton, Florence, Leeds, Easthampton, Hatfield, Williamsburg and Westhampton.

Close to 100 volunteers are already signing up for various shifts and responsibilities through  

Although children under 15 years old are not allowed to volunteer in the kitchen or serve as waitstaff, they can help with home deliveries. To participate in meal deliveries, families should arrive at the State Street side door of Edwards Church at 9:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving to pick up meals, which are then taken to homes between 10 and 11 a.m.


In Amherst, on the day before Thanksgiving, the Amherst Survival Center holds its annual Thanksgiving community meal at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 867 North Pleasant St. from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Typically, between 150 and 200 people from Amherst and surrounding communities will partake in the meal, which will include food and beverages and live music. This is the 30th year for the center’s meal.

Lev Ben-Ezra, executive director of the survival center, said the food is donated by businesses, schools, religious groups and families. Volunteers will be on site carving the turkeys and getting ready for the guests.

On Thanksgiving Day in Amherst, the Not Bread Alone soup kitchen, a program of the Center for Human Development, will have a meal starting at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 165 Main St. Unlike past years, when the senior center also prepared a meal for elders, this will be the lone community site open on the holiday.

Bob Stover, Not Bread Alone’s program coordinator, said there will be turkey, ham and vegan options, with all the fixings.

Volunteers will begin making the food at 9 a.m. and guests are welcome to come around that time and relax until the meal is served, Stover said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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