Nonprofit gives Mat-Su residents an invite to their table this Thanksgiving

“You are welcome to come to this Thanksgiving day dinner”
“You are welcome to come to this Thanksgiving day dinner”
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 9:27 PM AKST
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s a now decade-long standing invitation to Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents, as the Wasilla-based nonprofit Frontline Mission makes all the necessary preparations to host its annual community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Executive director of the organization, Matthew Sheets, calls it a dinner for everyone.

“A lot of people have family who are maybe out of town or they live here by themselves, maybe they’re elderly, homeless,” Sheets said. “Doesn’t matter kind of what the background you’re coming from, you are welcome to come to this Thanksgiving Day dinner.”

This will be the 10th year Frontline has catered the meals and the dinner has grown tenfold over the years. According to Sheets, the nonprofit served about 150 plates in its first year of hosting and expects to serve around 2,000 on Thursday.

“Eighty-two turkeys have been cooked today in order to prepare,” Sheets stated.

Before becoming a staff member, Sheets served as a volunteer himself. It’s an imperative role to be able to serve so many individuals and one that is filled with people like Michael Aguila.

“If somebody is riding the fence about maybe thinking about volunteering for Thanksgiving or Christmas or something, my advice would be: do it,” Aguila said. “No matter how small the role may be, do it.”

Aguila has been volunteering for Frontline for the last six months and is looking forward to greeting residents as a table host for the Thanksgiving dinner.

“To me, it completely takes the meaning of Thanksgiving and why I’m thankful and what I’m thankful for,” Aguila stated. “That I live in a country where we can gather freely and bring our resources together.”

Around 350 volunteer slots are being covered to plate the food, manage cleanup, and interact with guests.

“It’s not just us over here serving them over there,” Sheets said. “It’s about coming together at the same table, sharing a meal together, and just living in a community that cares for each other.”

So if you have yet to make any Thanksgiving plans yet this year, Frontline Mission will be serving meals from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Center in Wasilla.