By Connie Leinbach
Since Hurricane Dorian devastated Ocracoke on Sept. 6, many friends from near and far have come to the island’s aid, and more are on the way to create a community Thanksgiving feast.
The meal will be from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Berkley Barn, and is for residents, non-resident property owners, and temporary volunteers and contractors. Invited guests of community members are also welcome. Attendees are encouraged to bring desserts and sides for the potluck portion of the event.
Liberty Christian Fellowship of Kill Devil Hills reached out to Ocracoke Disaster Relief, said Alicia Peel, who’s been helping coordinate disaster relief since Hurricane Dorian struck on Sept. 6.
Since Liberty provides a Thanksgiving meal every year at their church for the community, they decided to help Ocracoke plan their own. This happened to coincide with a Thanksgiving potluck being planned by Sundae Horn and Karen Lovejoy, so they all joined forces.
“In a way, it’s an extension of the community Thanksgiving put on by Liberty every year,” said Katie Pendry, disaster relief coordinator for Liberty. “We’re really here to provide assistance with planning and donor contacts; the vision has always been for this event to be put on by islanders, for islanders.”
Because the kitchen inside the Berkley Manor was flooded and is unusable, Disaster Relief USA is bringing a mobile kitchen Wednesday evening to ensure menu items are ready to be served by 1 p.m. the next day
John Tice, owner of John’s Drive-In in Kitty Hawk, is one of the main sponsors of the meal. He, his daughter Amanda, some of his staff and customers and the Disaster Relief USA team led by Gordon Knox will be cooking 14 turkeys as well as ham, pork butt, green beans, stuffing, mashed redskin potatoes and rolls.
Tice and Pendry will arrive on the island this Tuesday to begin prep.
Tice has also been sending used appliances that have been donated and collected with the help of Charles Hardy Moving Service.
“We have gotten a lot of great donations from restaurants and food suppliers to help with the Thanksgiving meal and to stock the pantry,” he said.
“One of the many things John is bringing down: 600 oysters. We’ll have a little oyster roast too,” Peel said.
Horn and Lovejoy are organizing the potluck element, as well as set up and tear down. They are also coordinating with Ocracoke School students to create decorations.
Horn said volunteers are needed to help move tables Wednesday night, set up on Thursday morning, organizing the potluck items, and cleanup. To volunteer, call her at 252-921-0283.
Peel noted that this is a non-stressful gathering.
“Every time the community has come together since the storm, it’s been for storm-related issues, or stressful situations,” she said. “It’s time to just have some fun together.”
Oh, and it’s BYOB-friendly, too.
Prior to the community meal, a “Potluck Pantry” will be held in the OVFD from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 26 and 27). If the weather is good, the Pantry will be held outside, behind the fire station.
This is separate from the Bread of Life Food Pantry that is now confined to one bay of the firehouse.
This special pantry will stock Thanksgiving-specific items, which people can use for their own celebration or to share at the community meal at the Berkley Barn.
Mike Toler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat in Morehead City has been collecting items for this special pantry, which will be delivered today. Dixie 105.7 FM, JH Sanders Aviation Services and Elizabeth City Regional Airport are collecting items as well, Peel said.
“We also have $350, mostly in gift cards, collected by Cape Hatteras Motel to spend on fresh pantry items at Food Lion,” she said. “There’s been a lot of people donating to (this event), and we’re so grateful.”