Thousands of North Whidbey residents decided to share a festive Thanksgiving feast together at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge.
The annual North Whidbey Community Harvest took place Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. where volunteers provided a turkey and ham dinner, complete with all of the traditional side dishes, to anyone who walked through the doors.
Volunteer Skip Pohtilla said the day started out slow but then picked up throughout the afternoon. He didn’t have an exact count on the number of meals served but estimated between 2,500 and 3,000 people enjoyed a meal together.
Volunteers arrived at the Elks Lodge before 7 a.m. to start cooking the 190 turkeys and 500 pounds of ham that served as the main course.
“We definitely have enough for an aircraft carrier,” joked volunteer Scott Fraser. “We are going to feed the masses today.”
The Community Harvest needed the help of more than 300 volunteers in order for the food to be prepared and served.
“You can’t do it without these dedicated individuals,” Fraser said.
Some people enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before starting their shift to volunteer.
“I love it. It’s so much fun,” Oak Harbor resident Ann Liszak said after getting a plate of food. She was eating before she started her shift checking in volunteers. Once the feast concluded, firefighters from the Oak Harbor Fire Department cleaned up.
People who couldn’t attend the Community Harvest also had a chance to receive a meal. A group of volunteers was busy filling to-go boxes for the homebound, employees who were working, emergency personnel who were on duty during the holiday and anyone else who called for food.