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Thanksgiving Dinner For All in Harvard Square

Thanksgiving Dinner For All in Harvard Square

Every Thursday at Christ Church Cambridge a nutritious freshly cooked supper is served to everyone that comes to enjoy it. The meal program has been going on since 1982. Every week we serve between seventy and one hundred people on average. We get quite a variety of customers. Elderly, young, unemployed, under employed, unemployable, retired on fixed income, anyone that needs to eat on a Thursday evening is welcome. The program is staffed by a (fairly) steady crew of volunteers in the kitchen and in the hall for Set up and serving. We also see volunteers from local colleges, high schools, and families. Much of the food that we use comes from the Boston Food Bank and donations from local grocers and bakers. The apple pies that you see here were a generous donation from the Hi Rise Bread Company. I can't eat it myself, but the word is that it's as good as it looks!

We always serve a protein rich main course, a starch, vegetable, salad, soup,bread, and dessert. We offer a vegetarian entree every week to those who choose that lifestyle. Water, coffee, tea, and fruit punch are provided.

A typical Thursday at the church begins around noon with opening up the kitchen and defrosting, if necessary, that evening's entree. Deliveries come in, stocks of supplies are checked, orders are made, and the menu is planned. As our crew comes in, jobs are given out, the chopping and cooking begin. I usually get there just after three PM, having collected my daughter from her school on Putnam Av. While she does homework and helps with setting up the dining room, I dive right into the kitchen. There's always something to do. Either putting together a main dish and getting it into the oven, making a vegetarian entree, or just more chopping.

We open the dining room at 5:30PM and give out what extra food to take for later as we can while the cooking is wrapped up. At ten of six we start to ladle out the soup, and when enough cups have been filled, our servers bring it to the tables with bread and "butter". Then the serving line gets to work plating the meals. After our guests are served, the volunteers serve themselves and eat. Before we are done, its time to serve dessert and seconds in there are any. By 7:00 clean up is in full swing. The dining room has its tables cleaned and folded away, chairs stacked and floor swept and mopped. The kitchen is a big job too. The dish crew works about forty five minutes on pots, pans and utensils. The rest of us put everything away and tackle the stove, shelves, counters, and floors. Oh yeah there is the trash and breaking down all the boxes for recycling. By 8:00 we're usually about ready to go home.

On Thanksgiving, We serve the Friday after. This year was a big success. We cooked six turkeys and had at least as many donated. I lost count, but I carved and boned at least ten big birds. We also had squash, mashed potatoes, salad, soup, and all that apple pie.

Our Christmas dinner will be on December 18.

Times are tough and getting tougher. Our guests are increasing and our donations decreasing. If you would like to help or donate, come see us on a Thursday afternoon at:
Christ Church Cambridge
0 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Laurie Howell
Volunteer Coordinator
617 733-5099


Mark, do you know what the plan is for Christmas? Some of us are looking for a way to make ourselves useful.

We'd like to serve at Congregational Church on Nov. 24th for Thanksgiving, my son and I.
Ellen Mass
617 290-4864