Originally created 11/22/06

One Table will serve Thanksgiving meals for everyone



One Table, a Thanksgiving Day feast for the community, is feeding on the success of the inaugural event.

"It started last year. It grew out of two separate soup-kitchen efforts," said Eddie George, an officer for the Aiken Public Safety Department who is helping to coordinate the event.

Numerous churches, businesses and community organizations are sponsoring the Thanksgiving meal. They are duplicating the efforts of a year ago, when volunteers joined with the soup-kitchen organizers at St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church and Christ Central of Aiken.

Mr. George said about 1,000 people attended the free 2005 event. Organizers are looking for a similar turnout this year.

Volunteers will start cooking turkeys at 2 a.m. Thursday. The turkeys will be oven-baked, deep-fried, grilled and smoked.

Mr. George said people can bring a covered dish to the meal.

"Everyone is welcome to dine or to volunteer, or both," he said.

Last year, he said, some of the people who came to eat ended up volunteering to help with the event.

Some people came to the dinner so they would not be alone at Thanksgiving, and others brought their families and out-of-town guests to the dinner, Mr. George said.

Organizers have made some changes to this year's event. Volunteers will deliver meals to more than 60 shut-ins, and local musicians will perform. Mr. George said church choirs will participate.

Cecilia Hallman, another coordinator of the event, said the feast is "for everyone. All they need to do is bring their appetite."

"To me, I think it's the greatest thing the community has done," she said. In case of rain, the meal will be moved inside the Aiken Municipal Building.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

RON COCKERILLE/file

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if you go

WHAT: One Table

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: The Alley, behind Aiken Municipal Building

cost: Free

phone: To volunteer, (803) 645-8757; To get more information, (803) 642-7664