My turn: Church’s turkey day meal raises spirits in community

Today is the 58th year the First United Methodist Church in Portales has offered its annual “Turkey Day” to our area.

The numbers are impressive. Last year, 1,855 people lined up to eat 46 turkeys, 84 gallons of green beans, 26 roasters of cornbread dressing and 156 dozen rolls. Volunteers chopped 450 apples and 150 bunches of celery to create the traditional Waldorf salad, and 18 gallons of cranberry sauce provided a tangy touch of color. The meals were topped off with slices cut from 250 pumpkin pies.

This may be the largest community meal served each year in Portales, but we are fortunate to partake in a host of other traditional offerings: Altrusa spaghetti, Kiwanis chili, Lions pancakes, New Mexico Christian Children’s Home pork chops, Habitat for Humanity bratwursts.

These gatherings around meals that many of us have eaten each year as long as we can remember do so much more than raise money. They raise our community spirit, reminding us of what is best about our neighbors.

Don’t believe me? Eat lunch or supper at the Methodist Church today. See the smiles, hugs and handshakes. Listen to the laughter rise and fall. Lose yourself in the conversations.

It’s called community. Don’t forget the pie!