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At the Family of Woodstock: A Thanksgiving Feast For All


Last Thanksgiving your turkey was a little dry, no one ate your string bean casserole, and your designated clean-up crew fell asleep in front of the football game.

Maybe it’s time to shake it up this year.

The Family of Woodstock is inviting the public to their 42nd annual THANKSGIVING FEAST at the Woodstock Community Center, 56 Rock City Road, from 1 pm to 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd.

There is no charge to attend and Tamara Cooper, Program Director at Family of Wood-stock, says, “Show up hungry!”

This festive gathering is not just for those who cannot afford a Thanksgiving feast, it’s a community gathering that attracts a wide variety of people.

This year over 600 people are expected to attend and over 50 meals will be delivered to the home-bound. Meals are also delivered to anyone in the area who will be working on Thanksgiving Day, including the Woodstock Rescue Squad, Police Department, and Cumberland Farm employees.

“People come from New York City, New Jersey and Albany.Many have ties to Woodstock, they come year after year, and others alternate years with their own family dinners,” said Cooper. “We never know for sure what to expect or who may show up.”

Last year someone delivered a gigantic horn-of-plenty overflowing with fresh vegetables and flowers.There have been donations of exotic chocolates brought home from a Nordic vacation and surprise live music from area bands.Restaurants and businesses in Woodstock, Kingston, Phoenicia, and Saugerties are huge contributors.

This year Markertek of Saugerties is donating all of the compostable paper products allowing the entire feast to go green! The Woodstock Elementary School (grades K-3) has been donating the art work for the celebration for over ten years.There have been murals festooned around the Community Center and placemats and poetry decorating the tables. The children are encouraged to fill in the blank, “I Am Thankful for ______.”

There are many young people who attend, and they enjoy helping out by passing trays of cheese and crackers, popcorn and bottled water.“Expressions of gratitude are on the faces of all of the volunteers,” said Cooper.Last year, as a volunteer drove home, he picked up a hitchhiker whom he recognized from the dinner.


The annual Adolescent Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at the Old Dutch Church at 272 Wall Street in Kingston on Tuesday, November 21st from 6 pm to 8 pm, and 100 young people are expected to attend.“Most of the youth have been in support services with the Family of Woodstock, and they love to come back to reconnect with the staff during this meaningful time of year,” said Cooper.

The Family of New Paltz Turkey Trot is a 5K run and walk held annually on Thanksgiving morning to support Family of New Paltz’s Food Pantry and Crisis Services.

Building on the success of previous years, this year’s event will include prizes for best costumes, tee shirts for adults and children, and the famous Mashed Potato Fun Run, which is free for kids 12 and under.

For the more serious runners, the 5K course will be certified by USATF this year, and will include chip-timing. As part of the package provided by the chip-timing company, photos of individual runners crossing the finish line will be available for upload at no cost. Age groups this coming year will be in ten-year increments, and medals will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each age group, with separate awards for male and females.

Register online through Tuesday November 21st:

Since 1970, FAMILY has been an anchor for area residents- a place where people are respectful and caring, and where the search for solutions is creative and tireless. FAMILY's shelters, emergency food pantries, domestic violence services, court advocates, counseling and case management services, hotlines, and child care supports all work together to help people achieve the changes they seek.

“The faces change every year, but the message of gratitude and the importance of community never does,” said Cooper

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