The Scarborough Community Thanksgiving dinner will return in-person this year after two years of a to-go version due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributed / Scarborough Community Thanksgiving

From 150 attendees in their first year to 1,200 recipients in a to-go-only model last year, Scarborough Community Thanksgiving has been providing holiday meals since 2016.

After shifting gears to a curbside service at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit organization is looking forward to the return of an in-person event this year.

“We’re really excited to see everyone again,” said Kelly Murphy, chairperson of the organization’s board. “The original intention was to have an event where people can come together and not be alone on the holiday.”

The reasons people attend have expanded, she said, whether that is a need for a free meal, lack of space in their homes to hold a family gathering, or simply not wanting to cook. The mission is still the same: bringing people together.

This year, there’s room for 400 people to attend the dinner on Thanksgiving Day at Wentworth School, and they expect to fill every seat. The dinner will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It’s made possible by financial contributions from local businesses, organizations and residents.


“We are so appreciative,” Murphy said. “This is fully paid for from donations from sponsors and the community.”

Scarborough Community Thanksgiving did have a problem this year, but it was arguably the best problem a nonprofit can have: too many volunteers.

“We actually had to cut off volunteers, we had so many,” Murphy said. “We were outpacing people registering for dinner with volunteers. People really miss it. It’s become part of their holiday.”

Scarborough Community Thanksgiving will be accepting registrations until they reach the cap of 400 attendees. To register, go to


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