For the second year in a row, Joyce Felts didn't have to cook dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

    Instead, the Dodge City woman and her friend, Yoshie Mah, joined the crowd at Thursday's annual community Thanksgiving dinner. As they ate, the two women praised the food and shared stories.

    "I came here last year, and it was so good that I had to come back," Felts said.

    Mah added: "I like it. It's a good meal. I'm coming back."


For the second year in a row, Joyce Felts didn't have to cook dinner on Thanksgiving Day.
    Instead, the Dodge City woman and her friend, Yoshie Mah, joined the crowd at Thursday's annual community Thanksgiving dinner. As they ate, the two women praised the food and shared stories.
    "I came here last year, and it was so good that I had to come back," Felts said.
    Mah added: "I like it. It's a good meal. I'm coming back."
    Approximately 250 people — including the volunteers who cooked and served the meal — flocked to the National Guard Armory for the dinner, which was sponsored by New Hope on the Plains and the Dodge City Ministerial Alliance. Local businesses donated the food, while churches and volunteers contributed pies and other desserts.
    The Rev. Debra Muylaert, who coordinated desserts and volunteers for the event, said she was pleased that so many people had offered to help — either by serving or by donating food.
    "A lot of good will and generosity," she said. "It's just great."
    The buzz of conversation and laughter filled the air as guests enjoyed their meals. Volunteers at the dessert table chatted with people as they lingered over the selection of pies, cakes and cookies.
    Meanwhile, a group of servers was busy in the kitchen, dishing up food and placing the filled plates on the counter. Other servers circulated throughout the dining area, offering refills on beverages, helping diners find seats and carrying plates of food.
    Dodge City residents Carl and Linda Bjork sat at a table near the front of the dining area, enjoying their meal.
    The Bjorks said that their children were unable to come to Dodge City for the holiday, and they didn't want to spend the day by themselves. So they decided to attend the community dinner.
    They said their favorite part of the dinner was seeing old friends and acquaintances.
    "Good fellowship, good for the community," Linda Bjork said.
    But the diners weren't the only ones who were having a good time. The volunteers greeted newcomers with smiles as they handed them plates of food or packed meals into styrofoam to-go boxes for the diners to take home.
    Dodge City resident Sharon Grice, who was serving beverages to diners, said that she and her husband were both volunteering for the dinner. She added that she was glad to find a way to serve God by helping others.
    "I like just interacting with the people and giving them a little bit of tea, a little bit of coffee and watch them smile," she said.
    Another volunteer, Steve Schmidt, read about the event in the paper and decided to help out wherever he could. He said that the most rewarding part of the day was watching people share a meal and fellowship.
    "It's nice to see the community come together and function together," he said. "It's good to see that. And all of them giving thanks at the same time."

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.