It has been a year of “NO!” It has been a year of, “We can’t do that because of COVID.” Yes, 2020 has been a year, no doubt about it.

Sadly, there is going to be one more “no” in Cut Bank this year–no community Thanksgiving dinner. Organizers said there was not a safe way to have that popular, well-attended event this year, even with social distancing and mask wearing. So once again, there is another “no” for us to bear.

The Parkview Center usually hosts the community dinner, but with their dining room closed since last spring, there was no way to safely gather and feed the hundreds of folks that attend the annual dinner.

So, the follow-up theme we’ve become accustomed to is “maybe next year.”

However, all is not quite lost for Thanksgiving this year. There are a few other places people can get a Thanksgiving dinner if:

• They are not wanting to cook and/or;

• They do not have family in town to share the meal with. 

For the last several years, Albertsons has prepared Thanksg-iving dinners for those that pre-order that meal. The meal comes with all the “fixings” and either turkey or ham and all you have to do when you pick up the meal and get it home is warm it up.

If you want a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner, you will need to contact Albertsons by Friday, Nov. 20 to place your order. While on the line, give them your turkey or ham request and they will tell you when you can stop by the store and pick-up your meal. The number to call is (406) 873-5035 in Cut Bank or (406) 434-5581 in Shelby. Albertsons will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Big Sky Foods in Cut Bank is also going to have a Thanksgiving dinner available for in-store pick-up at their deli counter. The meal will be their special of the day and feature either turkey or ham and all the sides you could possibly want. They will start offering the special at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will be open that day from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. You do not need to pre-order this meal, just stop in the store and get what you want at the deli. The Harvest Food Pantry will be handing out their holiday Thanksgiving Day meals on Friday, Nov. 20. The Turkey Bucks customers at Albertsons have been buying for the last several weeks, allows Albertsons to purchase the meals for the food pantry at no additional cost to the food pantry.

“We are so grateful for all the support we get from the folks at Albertsons and at Big Sky Foods,” said Harvest Food Pantry volunteer Patty Grubb. “They help us get the meals out every week and for the holiday season, too.”

The meal for those needing it from the food pantry comes with a turkey breast and all the sides, most of which have already been prepared. “You just have to heat everything up,” said Patty.

Harvest Food Pantry has been fortunate to receive food donations as well as grant and dollar donations throughout the year. Donations come from various organizations, including Opportunities Inc., Montana Food Bank Network, members of the community and the Town Pump Foundation through their matching grant program.

The food pantry will be closed on Friday, Nov. 29 so volunteers can enjoy the holiday weekend, so extra helpings will be given out to those that need a little help this holiday on their regular pick-up day of Nov. 20 from 9-10 a.m. 

“We will be handing out extra food on that Friday hoping to tied those families in need over for the weekend we won’t be open,” explained Patty. 

With all the wonderful donations and grant monies they have secured this year, they are not necessarily in need of canned goods for their shelves right now, added Patty

“We are pretty well stocked. However, for those who want to make a donation, they can send that to us and we will get it to Town Pump, who will then match all the donations we run through them.” The address for sending donations is Harvest Food Pantry, 230 7th Avenue SE, Cut Bank, MT 59427.

“Again, we are so grateful for all the wonderful donations we receive, which truly gives us the opportunity to help those less fortunate this holiday season and during all other times of the year as well,” concluded Patty.

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