|New friendships formed
Our church was bursting at the seams on Saturday as we hosted the first ever Eagle Wings Thanksgiving Dinner. With 160 dinner guests coming from all over the county and more than 100 volunteers cooking, serving, hosting tables, helping with parking, and caring for a myriad other details, the place was buzzing.
Eagle Wings serves the developmentally disabled adult population of Snohomish County. As Executive Director, Kinder Smoots (whose wedding last month was a wonderful event) works with churches and other groups to provide annual events for our often overlooked neighbors. With the addition of the Thanksgiving Dinner, there are now 19 events throughout the year sponsored by Eagle Wings. Coming in December are three events -- the SeaFair Christmas Cruise, an evening at the Lights of Christmas, and the annual Christmas Celebration hosted by an area church.
The events fill up fast. Once the invitation goes out the reservations always come quickly; in just three days we were up to capacity!
Saturday night was a time for reconnecting, good food and fellowship, and joy. As guests entered, they received a name tag and sat down at one of the two photo booths to have a professional photo taken. Before they left for home, each guest was given his or her photo to display in the nice frame they had made as a craft project before the meal was served. My friend Ginger ran into a woman she'd known at a church she attended 30 years ago. It was a sweet reunion for them. My son and his housemates and caregiver sat at the table I hosted. So did Neal, the best man from Kinder and Jim's wedding last month. It was a joy to get to talk to him and his sister, who drove from Kirkland so that he could be at the dinner.
I was so impressed with the food preparation and serving. The delicious dinner -- turkey gravy served over mashed potatoes, green beans with onions and red peppers, strawberry jello, cranberry sauce, dinner roll and slushies, and followed up with pumpkin pie -- was set before us by a host of servers who were thoughtful and efficient. The organization required to provide and serve such a grand dinner for so many was impressive as well.
The worship team provided background music and also led us in song at the end of the meal. When the singing began, I watched a young woman from the table closest to the back wall stand up in the aisle and raise her hands in joyful praise. Soon she was right in front, joined by a number of others who sang and danced to the Lord.
I do hope the guests enjoyed the evening as much as the church family who got to participate in this wonderful evening did!
|Kinder doing a Volunteer Training before the guests arrive
|A happy guest
|Ginger and one of the guests
|"Let the serving begin!"
|Crafts at the table and a video on the screen
|Guests and volunteers worshipping