Central City Thanksgiving dinner

Jean Bulger (left) serves some gravy to Ed Robb, of Central City, during the community’s annual free Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, while her daughter, Tina Bulger, takes care of another patron behind her.

CENTRAL CITY, Pa. – For six years, this small town of less than 1,000 people has had a growing Thanksgiving tradition.

More than 200 meals were prepared Thursday for a community dinner at the Central City Borough Building’s Wilson Community room.

“We look forward to this, that’s for sure,” Tim Bulger said.

At the dinner table, Bulger, Donna Custer and her sister Bonnie Kline talked about the generosity and fellowship of Central City’s people.

“I’m thankful for this get-together,” Custer said. “We don’t have much in town anymore.”

They talked about when the town was really booming decades ago, with its then-bustling coal mines.

Today, the closest grocery store is 11 miles away in another town, she said.

“But for a small town, this community comes together for everything,” Custer said, whether it’s Thanksgiving dinner or a basket party to raise funds for a neighbor’s medical expenses.

The sixth annual Thanksgiving day Dinner, like all the previous dinners, was free.

The food, including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing balls and pumpkin pie, was supplied by My Girls catering in Somerset.

It was paid for by donations of various clubs, said dinner organizer Dan Bulger.

“This is for fellowship. We don’t ask for money, we want to enjoy a meal and talk,” Bulger said. “It’s growing every year.”

The 220 meals, including takeout, marked an increase of 35 from last year, he said.

Russ O'Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

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