State College

Church opens doors to community for Thanksgiving dinner

Betsy Llewellyn, right, and Madeline Geduldig,12, serve food during a community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Betsy Llewellyn, right, and Madeline Geduldig,12, serve food during a community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. psheehan@centredaily.com

For some, the holidays can be a lonely time, but St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church provided a community dinner on Thanksgiving to help alleviate that.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, the church provided a free dinner that was open to anyone. Tables dressed with white tablecloths were set up in the main dining area, with overflow tables in the hallway.

Sharon Rovansek said loneliness can be exacerbated on holidays.

There’s an emotional need for people to be around others and even just have someone to save a place for them, she said.

Her husband, Ron, coordinates the church’s Community Cafe. It provides free supper on Thursdays from 5-6:45 p.m., she said.

They strive to serve food everyone will enjoy — offering vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options when possible, Rovansek, of Halfmoon Township, said.

If even one person leaves a dinner hungry, that’s a failure, she said.

Rovansek said the Community Cafe serves about 6,000 people per year and about 150-200 on Thanksgiving.

One of the greatest things that can be said about the cafe — which has been around for 7 years — is that people consider it home, Rovansek said.

Dale Gericke, of Julian, who’s been a member at the church for about 10 years, volunteered by serving food at the dinner.

It’s enjoyable, and it seems like something that needed to be done, he said.

It’s always fun to see the mix of people who attend the dinner — from locals to foreign students, Gericke said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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