Thanksgiving is the most important holiday for the clubhouse. Each year, both members and staff come together to make sure that the Thanksgiving dinner is the best yet. Hundreds of members and guests attend the Fountain House Thanksgiving celebration.
Each year, many individuals express interest in volunteering at Fountain House for the Thanksgiving festivities. Volunteers are members, as well as family and friends of the Fountain House community. Megan Kelly from the Reception Unit organizes the Thanksgiving volunteers. This year, the volunteer spots filled up quickly.
In the past, we have had outside volunteers, but because there were so many people wanting to help this year, we are focusing on making accommodations to the friends and family of our community. The volunteers participate in both the Culinary Unit and Wellness Center dish-lines, the Wellness Center and the coat room. We also have a volunteer violinist! Each year, the number of volunteers varies depending on the amount of staff. Both the members and staff of the Fountain House community truly appreciate the many volunteers who participate in our Thanksgiving festivities.
Before I was hired at Fountain House, I volunteered here on Thanksgiving. That was four years ago. I served both dessert and coffee in the Horticulture Unit and was struck by the warmth of the community and how welcome everyone made me feel, even though I was a complete stranger to them. Through this experience, I came to understand a little more about Fountain House and also that Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday for us. Since working here, I have been involved with Thanksgiving planning, both downstairs in the Culinary Unit and upstairs in the Wellness Center. Both last year and this year, I have had the added pleasure of helping organize the holiday overall. This involves running the big Thanksgiving Planning meeting every Thursday for the two months leading up to the big day, and making sure all the details are being taken care of. The meeting is a lot of fun because people from all areas of the house contribute and help out. Everyone is involved with invitations, ticket sales, flower arrangements, food preparation, dining room design, and of course, the big house-wide cleaning days! It’s such a great example of our community working together for a larger cause.
(This year, we are experimenting with a few changes. For one, we no longer have a crew setting up on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.) The house will be set up by 5:00 PM on that day! The Culinary Unit had their cleaning day on Monday in order to help with this change and the Wellness Center provided lunch for the house that day. The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving were our house-wide cleaning days, where we needed all hands on-deck to help out! Also, we purchased our own tablecloths and napkins for the dining room this year. We picked out beautiful colors for this Thanksgiving and for those to come. The Wellness Center will get rented tablecloths and napkins this year, and the color is a bit avant-garde – hopefully everyone likes it! Dorothy and the Horticulture crew will be making beautiful floral arrangements to complement the new color schemes. Regardless, we can look forward to another beautiful holiday here at Fountain House!