5th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Vernon Community Center Thursday

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Vernon- Lonnie Andrews, the owner of "Smok 'N' Butts" restaurant said it had become a tradition for he and his family to spend Thanksgiving with others.

"God gave me this idea to feed his people, and that was five years ago. I told one person, that person told another person. I actually had $3000 of my own money to spend, and I actually didn't have to spend a dime. I just had to be a willing vessel."

Five years later, Andrews was still serving up Thanksgiving dinner at the Vernon Community Center. But he told us this year was particularly special. Andrews, a Vernon local and native said he knew how much his community was still struggling from the summer's flooding events.

"We're expecting more," he said. "It fluctuates, we average 300. Whatever comes through that door, I got nine commercial freezers! So, you're going to get something. If they turkeys gone, we got chicken!"

And he assured us his table was open to anyone and everyone.

"You don't actually have to be in need to come. It's a tough economy right now and we just want to be a blessing to others."

Andrews said the tradition wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the army of volunteers who help out every year. People like Willis Galbraith have been working with Andrews since the beginning.

"It just takes a lot of volunteer work," Galbraith told us. "One person can't do this by themselves. It just takes a lot of people and a lot of devotion to really, give up having thanksgiving with your own family really."

Andrews said he had high hopes for this Thursday's turn out.

"The flier says 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, but if somebody's here cleaning, it's 5 o'clock, usually its dark when we leave. We will find you something to eat if you come through and you're hungry."

Galbraith chimed in, "I'm hoping we've got a thousand people!"

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