Final preparations for the annual Harvest Turkey Dinner at the Minetto United Methodist Church were recently reviewed by some of the more than 100 people who will work to serve nearly 1000 dinners on October 15. Shown are (seated L to R) Jean Kingsley, Diana Rockhill, and Lori Kingsley; (standing) Doug Buske, Rick VanPatten, Bill Rockhill, Fred Dumas, and Pastor Chuck Forbes.


Turkey aplenty will be served at the Harvest Dinner at the Minetto United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 15, beginning at 4:00. Customers who prefer to eat at home can go inside for carry-out service or use the drive-thru take-out line. They just pull into the parking lot from Empire Avenue and give their order to an attendant who radios it inside. Then they drive forward, where more attendants collect payment, deliver the order to the car, and send them on their way. Those who prefer to eat at the church, may go inside and eat in the dining room where they will likely find some of their friends and neighbors. Either way everyone gets a complete traditional home-cooked dinner including roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, butternut squash, cole slaw, cranberry sauce, dinner roll, and homemade pie. Regular dinners are $9.00 and smaller ones are $6.00. The church is located at the corner of state route 48 and county route 8 in the village of Minetto, and the building is handicapped accessible.

This year’s dinner will use 32 turkeys weighing over 700 pounds, 320 pounds of potatoes, 250 pounds of squash, and over 125 homemade pies. Planning and conducting the dinner will involve about 130 individuals of the congregation and community, from over 90 households. Most participants have done their jobs for several years so they have developed considerable skill and efficiency. Our pastor, Rev. Chuck Forbes, will be returning from a class in Buffalo and will be on hand to greet our later guests. “We look forward to seeing long-time friends and new customers as well. Our dinner has become an autumn tradition well-loved by the people of our community and church,” said Vernon Tryon, coordinator of the annual event.

The church has been conducting an annual Harvest Dinner for many years — the actual number is unknown. It is a traditional home-cooked roast turkey dinner. It was originally served in our dining room, but gradually more and more people wanted dinners to take home. In 2002, we added the option of drive-thru service so people wouldn’t have to park and come inside the building. That first year, 182 of our total of 474 meals went out the drive-thru. Last year, 432 of our 842 meals were delivered to 149 vehicles in the drive-thru line, 22% were served in our dining room, 27% were carried away by people who came inside the building, and the remaining 51% were served via the drive-thru.

The church holds its harvest turkey dinner each fall to supplement support of its ministries in Minetto and around the world. Over 16% of the church’s annual budget is used for service outside the parish. That money is targeted for such purposes as health insurance for retired clergy and their dependents; worldwide missions and services to the poor, disabled, and disadvantaged; overhead expenses for United Methodist Committee on Relief disaster assistance; Upper New York Annual Conference services and programs; interdenominational cooperation; eleven historically African-American colleges in the U.S.; and Africa University, the only United Methodist university in Africa, which serves 1300 students each year in agriculture, business, and other fields of study.

The people of the church also support a number of outreach efforts within our community. Included are monthly gifts of non-perishable foods to the Oswego Salvation Army, a recent collection of school supplies for the Minetto Elementary School, monthly free dinners, contributions of food-stamp ineligible necessities to the Helping Hands Cupboard at Fulton State Street UMC, clothing and gifts provided to children and families of need at Christmas time, assistance with the Oswego County Opportunities house vegetable garden, a monthly noisy can offering given to a wide variety of local charitable purposes, and providing meeting space for several music, exercise, and Scouting groups. With Pastor Chuck’s leadership, we are striving to be God’s love to our neighbors in all places.


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