As it has for more than 20 years, the American Legion in Hawthorne hosted Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in the town who wanted to come.

Volunteers help prepare Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday at the American Legion in Hawthorne. About 120 locals came out for the annual free holiday meal. (Heidi Bunch photo)

As it has for more than 20 years, the American Legion in Hawthorne hosted Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in the town who wanted to come.

“This is a pooling of community resources, that people who have people visiting from out of town, or don’t have the facilities and stuff to cook a meal, they can come here and it’s a buffet style deal,” said Ken Carothers, Legion commander in Mineral County. “They can eat as much as they want and they can take as much as they want. Everybody gets as much as they want until we run out.”

Carothers also said the feast didn’t run dry this year, and he was happy to see a large, diverse crowd of revelers.

“It’s all genders, all races, all incomes,” Carothers said. “We had a government worker bring some of his visiting family in; we’ve got people [that are] on fixed incomes that come in. That’s the thing of it is. It’s Thanksgiving.”

Carothers said the Legion served about 120 meals, considerably less than last year. About half were served in the legion hall, half were delivered by the Mineral County Senior Center to homebound seniors.

The cooperation, Carothers said, is one of the hallmarks of the Legion’s Thanksgiving feast.

“The foremost thing is, you’ve got to realize that we don’t do this on our own,” Carothers said. “We do this through donations from organizations throughout the community, and they contribute the ability to buy the stuff to serve the meal.”

Carothers said it cost about $1,200 to feed all the hungry feasters, but the expense was well worth it.

“That’s our day of thanks. That’s our contribution to the community,” Carothers said. “By pulling community resources we compile it all together, we get donations, we buy the resources and materials and we put it on. I personally do it for the self satisfaction.”