Eyewitness to History: Friends of the Poor Thanksgiving ‘take out’ event approaching in Scranton

Eyewitness To History

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Forty-five years ago, a Scranton-based nun, sister Adrian Barrett had a dream to make sure everyone had Thanksgiving Dinner.

In this week’s Eyewitness to History, we go back to November 2004, to take a look at the success of the Thanksgiving Community Dinner.

It’s a Thanksgiving feast where many people don’t know each other, even at the same table. But, that all changes quickly, when the food arrives.

“They came and sat with us, everybody starts talking. You know it’s really nice to get together like this,” said Thelma Candan, Scranton resident.

Fifteen hundred people crowded into the Scranton Cultural Center for this annual dinner hosted by Sister Adrian Barrett and The Friends of the Poor.

“We welcome as many of the elderly as possible, the homeless, the single adults, and we do that because of the poverty of loneliness,” said Sister Adrian Barrett.

Buses pick up some people in personal care homes and other places in Lackawanna County. The food is donated and hundreds of volunteers pitch in to make it happen.

“When Sister Adrian puts something together, they all come together, you understand. She’s a wonderful lady,” said volunteer, Stacy Moore.

“60 turkeys, 70 gallons of gravy, and more than 250 pumpkin pies make up this huge Thanksgiving feast,” said Patrick Frank

There are so many people of all ages, they sit on two levels at the Cultural Center.

“When I was up on the top floor, it’s all beautiful when you look down,” said Alice Walsh

This Thanksgiving dinner had 35 guests when it started 28 years ago. Now it has more than 1,000 people, and some say it gets better every year.

“We’re all sharing together. It’s a beautiful feeling of love,” explained Linda Kelemen, of Dunmore.

Because of the ongoing concern with COVID-19, the 45 edition of the Thanksgiving Community Dinner will be a takeout-only event on Tuesday afternoon, November 23.

The take-out event will be held at North Washington Avenue and Vine Street between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.

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