About 150 people turned out for the annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Monday Meal on Nov. 19 at the North Windham Union Church on Route 302. Attendees received a free turkey dinner with all the trimmings followed by a slice of pie in a warm, community setting.

Organizer Marie Seder said this is the ninth year of the program. Monday Meal takes place throughout the year, but the gathering before Thanksgiving draws the most people.

“The only reason we’re doing it here is the size of the meal,” said Seder. This week’s meal drew three to five times the normal number of people.

The Monday Meal is held at the Windham Assembly of God on the first and second Monday of each month, and the Windham Hill, United Church of Christ on the third and fourth.

Seder said the program is about more than putting hot meals onto festively-printed paper plates.

“A lot of the people here have lost a spouse,” she said. Monday Meal is designed to bring local people together and promote socializing. She said a lot of the regulars will show up at 4:30 p.m., an hour before meal time, just to chew the fat.

Seder said one last intention of the Monday Meal is to mentor young people to become public volunteers. Food was prepared and distributed this week by nursing majors at St. Joseph’s College and members of Windham’s Boy Scout Troop 805.

Boy Scout Matt Butler, 15, said he enjoyed helping members of the community at the Monday Meal.

“It’s for a good cause,” he added.

“The food was great, everyone was really friendly,” said Joanna Traussi of Windham. She and her family were there for the first time.

“I like the friendly atmosphere, you get to know people,” said Nancy Marois. She has been coming to Monday Meal for a few months.

Seder said the food was donated from churches, the Windham Food Pantry, individuals and some funding from the town.

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