Community Thanksgiving in Winter Park provides more than meals
For over 20 years, more than 100 people have gathered on Thanksgiving at Cranmer Chapel for dinner.
The meal, provided for free, is served to seasonal employees from Winter Park Resort and locals, but is open to everybody.
According to the 2018 County Health Rankings, more than one out of every 10 Grand County residents lacked access to a reliable source of food through the course of a year.
As the holidays approach, charitable dinners like those at Cranmer Chapel provide both a wholesome meal and sense of community.
“It’s great feeding the people who come, because a lot of them have a great need to have a healthy meal,” said Jim Magill, who organizes the Cranmer dinners. “It’s nice to see the camaraderie develop.”
- 12-2 p.m., Cliffview Assisted Living Center, Kremmling
- 5-7 p.m., Cranmer Chapel, Winter Park
- 4-6 p.m., Squeaky B’s, Grand Lake
- Mon.-Wed., Mountain Family Center food pantries will provide available fixings for Thanksgiving dinner
This year, the dinner will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the chapel, 75 High Country Drive in Winter Park.
Magill began helping at these meals 10 years ago. He inherited the role from Joan Von der Heiden, who had originally organized them. He eventually took over the program and Gary Piper became Magill’s assistant five years ago.
“It’s a fun thing,” Piper said. “We try to make it as close to a family meal as we can.”
Thanksgiving is not the only meal provided at the chapel. Every other week through the ski season they serve a community meal. The program is sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, but it’s a community program that teams up with many other churches and organizations.
Typically, one or two groups take a meal night and provide the staffing, side dishes and desserts, and donate to cover the cost of the main course. The program serves 10 meals every season.
Organizations helping throughout the year include Winter Park Resort, Grand County Jewish Community, Catholic Churches of Grand County, Church of Eternal Hills, C Lazy U Ranch, Lion’s Club, Lord of the Valley Lutheran Church, Mountain Family Center, Epicurean Catering and Winter Park Christian Church.
Last Thanksgiving, 130 people showed up for the Cranmer dinner.
“It’s a welcoming, warm, fun atmosphere,” Magill said. “We see a lot of the same people coming back because they look forward to coming to the dinner and having good food.”
Magill and Piper also deliver meals for people who can’t attend the dinners. Call Magill at 970-726-5423 for more information.
All meals are served 5-7 p.m. at Cranmer Chapel, Winter Park
- Nov. 28: Traditional turkey dinner sponsored by St. John’s
- Dec. 6: Entire meal prepared and served by Winter Park Resort
- Dec. 20: Rigatoni with marinara prepared and served by Grand County Jewish Community
- Jan. 3: Roasted pork loin sponsored by St. John’s
- Jan. 17: Grandma’s homemade meatloaf sponsored by Catholic Churches of Grand County
- Jan. 31: Provided by C Lazy U Ranch and sponsored by Church of Eternal Hills
- Feb. 14: Homemade beef stew and Valentine cupcake competition sponsored by Lion’s Club
- Feb. 28: Fresh baked ham sponsored by Lord of the Valley Lutheran Church
- March 13: Provided by Epicurean Catering and sponsored by Mountain Family Center
- March 29: Lasagna sponsored by Winter Park Christian Church
The Cranmer dinners are just one community meal provided on Thanksgiving. Squeaky B’s in Grand Lake is hosting their 2nd annual Thanksgiving Dinner from 4-6 p.m. Thursday and Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling is providing a community meal 12-2 p.m. Thursday. Both are free and open to anyone.
Mountain Family Center provides tote bags of ingredients for traditional Thanksgiving meals that families can sign up for. This year, 239 families signed up for the bags. While the deadline has passed to sign up, families can still come to the food pantry this week to be set up with any Thanksgiving items the food bank still has.
At Cranmer, the program continues to grow and see more community involvement each year. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition that has served over 27,000 meals since its inception.
“The kids just love it that come from the resort,” Piper said. “Every one of them stops at the kitchen and thanks us.”
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