Thanksgiving meals offered throughout county

There will be several Thanksgiving meals hosted throughout the county, including the 44th annual Bettie J. Naffie Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. (News Advocate file photo)

There will be several Thanksgiving meals hosted throughout the county, including the 44th annual Bettie J. Naffie Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. (News Advocate file photo)

MANISTEE — As families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, several groups in the community will open their doors to invite the public to share a meal.

The 44th annual Bettie J. Naffie Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner will take place from noon until 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the VFW Walsh Post No. 4499, located at 1211 28th St. in Manistee.

“It is a full Thanksgiving meal offered for anyone in the community, regardless of circumstances,” said Lisa Spencer, administrator at United Way of Manistee County. “The Bettie Naffie family has continued the legacy of her giving back to her community, and they choose to do it in the form of a meal open to all.”

The meal draws people from all walks of life for an afternoon of food and fellowship.

“We average close to 300 people every year,” she said. “We’re hoping to see it grow.”

Dial-A-Ride will offer free transportation to all Manistee residents, and reservations can be made by calling (231) 723-6525. There is no need to reserve a spot for the dinner.

Those who are home-bound and need delivery can call (231) 723-2331.

“Delivery is for those who can’t leave their home for medical reasons, and we usually get a list from Meals on Wheels and deliver to those people,” said Spencer. “Meals on Wheels doesn’t operate on Thanksgiving and so we are making sure those folks also get a meal.”

The meal will be prepared by the Naffie family, with United Way of Manistee County sponsoring the event.

“We are blessed to have the Naffie family wish to continue this in their mother’s honor,” said Spencer.

Hi-Way Inn also is offering a free meal to the public, and will have a food donation bucket set up to give to the local pantry.

The meal will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday at Hi-Way Inn, located at 715 Kosciusko St. in Manistee.

For more information or for those who need special accommodations, call (231) 398-9188.

The Armory Youth Project will offer a free Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday, with dinner starting at 5 p.m.

The meal is open to all students in sixth through 12th grade along with their families. Attendees are asked to RSVP by calling (231) 299-1205.

Erin Pontiac, of the Armory Youth Project, said this is the first year they have hosted a holiday celebration and hopes the dinner will build more community awareness around what the Armory offers.

“Our wonderful kitchen volunteer, Chris Amor, came up with the idea,” said Pontiac. “We thought it would be a great thing to offer to have the students and their families have a dinner out together.”

The Armory hopes to serve at least 20 students and their families, and the meal was made possible by several donations from the community.

She said Amor donated supplies, and Onekama Marine and Blue Waters Cafe donated food items.

“We are still looking for donations of drinks and whatever any person or organization wants to give for this event or for the nightly dinners served,” said Pontiac. “Chris has graciously offered to cook the meal.”

For many families, football goes hand-in-hand with the Thanksgiving holiday.

The annual Turkey Bowl flag football game and food drive will ensure fun for the whole family and will take place on Wednesday at the Manistee High School football field.

The event will help to fill local pantries for the holidays, and there will be a collection for non-perishable food items and feminine hygiene products. Participants in the flag football game are asked to bring a minimum of three items.

The field will open at 4 p.m. for donations and the game starts at 6 p.m. There will be hot cocoa and coffee to help keep everyone warm.

Items can be donated before the event to the following locations:

• The Vogue Theatre;

• Manistee Beverage Company;

• J. Catlett and Company;

• Gliks;

• Port City Organics, LLC;

• Two Slices; and

• Chopos Northside Bar.

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