Laconia church again hosting Thanksgiving meal

LACONIA — Volunteers and staff at the Congregational Church of Laconia, United Church of Christ are spending the early part of the week preparing for the free 45th annual Hazel Duke Thanksgiving Dinner.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m. for hor d'oeuves and at noon for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, the hope, said Rev. Paula Giles, is to serve about 150 meals.

"This year we've raise the money and are buying the food," said Giles who said she specifically wanted to single out St. Andre Bessette Parish for making a "considerable" donations to this year's dinner.

Giles said Hannaford Supermarket is working with the church to help them provide the ingredients for the meal.

Giles said Hazel Duke was a single woman and a parishioner who taught for years within the Laconia School District. She said Duke felt that no one should be alone at Thanksgiving.

"She believed there should be a place for people who would otherwise be alone," Giles said.

She said people are welcome to bring pies for dessert but for the most part the dinner is being cooked by a core group of about 40 volunteer — some of whom have been volunteering for years. She said Emily Clement and Mike and Susan Izard are this year's coordinator.

Giles said reservations are not necessary but encourages those who want to attend to call 524-0668 so they can get an idea about how many people will be attending.

CAPTION: The annual free Hazel Duke Thanksgiving Dinner tradition continues thanks to a small army of volunteers associated with the Congregational Church of Laconia, UCC. (Laconia Daily Sun file photo/Ed Engler)