Thanksgiving in Portland

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Portland, Oregon is known for the way it bands together and unites the community. At no time is this more evident than during the holidays. The Kenton neighborhood in North Portland does this every year with their annual Thanksgiving Day festival, and this year, my wife and I decided to take the kids. It’s open to the public, but one of the goals is to help needy and underprivileged enjoy a wholesome and hearty Thanksgiving Day feast.

This year we decided to enjoy the event by both volunteering. It’s a win/win, really. We get a serve and eat a delicious meal, we get to explore a neighborhood in this terrific city, and my wife doesn’t have to slave over a hot stove all day and then clean up by herself while the kids and I veg over football and tryptophan.

2013 marks the thirteenth year of the community-wide event and, this year, the event has two stated goals:  To treat 1,000 people to a “delicious dinner made with skill and love, live music from the community, and a welcoming attitude of humble service!” and to “provide the absolute finest Thanksgiving dinner experience of its kind!” For the first time, this year’s meal will feature full vegetarian options as well.

When my family arrived at the event, my children could not contain their excitement, bolting out of the car before I’d put it into park. They were excited for the awesome local tunes, the fabulous story-telling and the arts and crafts displays by local artisans—and to serve our community friends and neighbors.
As the family wound its way through the lush, tree-lined streets, past the ranch and Portland-style homes of Kenton, we took it all in. What an amazing city and community we live in! I marveled at the creativity and my wife smiled and hooked her arm around mine.

The North Portland community enhancement organization, PROPER and the non-profit soul food café, Po’Shines took care of the mess and the cooking. After we helped serve the meal, my wife was able to relax with the rest of the family as we gobbled up heaping piles of mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, and green beans. As we gorged on grub, food and music, my wife smiled and relaxed. And as we finished our meal, amongst wonderful neighbors and friends, we felt blessed and thankful indeed. The kids even volunteered to clean up and help the wonderful staff at Po’Shines.

The event runs Thanksgiving Day from 12-4 at the Celebration Tabernacle located at 8131 N Denver Ave, Portland 97217. To donate goods or cash for next year’s event, contact Robin at 503.890-5393 – robin@properusa.org.  For more information about the event in general, visit properusa.org.

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