One big happy family at Woodstock Thanksgiving fest

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The Family of Woodstock fed a multitude of over 500

WOODSTOCK – Crisp clear chilly weather greeted sunny Hudson Valley skies on Thanksgiving Thursday morning, as households and charitable groups put their finishing touches on the annual Autumn feast, before settling down into the winter holiday season.
In Kingston, the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church provided only delivery service for their Thanksgiving community dinner. Sad news arrived early this month, when it was announced that pastor Darlene Kelley would be leaving the parish, and the church itself risks shutting down due to financial woes.
For years, Caring Hands Soup Kitchen at the Methodist church had provided a community soup kitchen to local needy, especially crucial after the closing of Queens Galley free kitchen in Dec. 2013. This year, a sit-down meal was provided at the First Baptist Church on Albany Ave. Doors were closed by 4pm.
Meanwhile, the Woodstock Community Center still had a full house by 4pm closing time, with almost 32 people still lined up outside the door. Over 36 turkeys and 506 plates at last count, according to Ron Van Wormer, program director for the crisis hotline at Family of Woodstock, which hosts the annual event there.
“42 years ago, the people at Family decided there needed to be a community dinner for Thanksgiving,” Van Wormer said. “It has just grown and grown and exploded, from just a small affair, , to now we are feeding almost 600 people. It’s all about what Woodstock is – family. The food comes from individuals, cooked turkeys, and restaurants who donate from as far away as Shandaken and Kingston, just about everywhere.”.
Inside, many of the same familiar faces from previous years were enjoying turkey dinner, serving plates as volunteers, or both. Included among the busy workers was Cameron Williams, who gave an interview last year but was too busy handing out leftovers to talk Thursday night.
Outside, the sun began to set a deep reddish color, against streaks of waxy clouds, which appeared painted across the slowly dimming sky. Stovetops and ovens across the region warmed households for individual household meals, for an evening where hopefully everybody hungry was well-fed.