Community offers students Thanksgiving meal

by Mattie Hanson

If you’re not going home for Thanksgiving, you don’t have to be alone. MSUM students and faculty staying on campus over Thanksgiving break are welcome to join a free community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

St. Joseph’s and Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead have taken turns hosting the Thanksgiving meal for more than 20 years. Last year, the churches served 500 people and gave out 500 home-delivered meals. The free home-cooked meal is served beginning at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Leftovers will be available to the public at 1:30 p.m.

After learning 250 MSUM students didn’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving last year, people in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion wanted to make sure they had options this year. Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs Olivia Matthews and ad and PR senior Preston Prince were ready to organize something for those students.

“We originally planned something with Sodexo on campus with Wii games and the football game playing,” Matthews said.

But the ODI changed its plans when a flyer sent out by St. Joseph’s said MSUM residents were welcome to its free annual Thanksgiving Dinner. The church’s adult faith coordinator, Shawn Erickson, was happy to get in contact with Prince, Matthews and others from the ODI.

“I was excited when (Prince) called me,” Erickson said. “I appreciate his hospitality and concern about this group of people who had nowhere to go this Thanksgiving and not leaving them behind.”

Last year, some NDSU and MSUM students enjoyed the meal and helped clean up afterward. Most were international students who had never celebrated Thanksgiving before.

“It’s a canvas of people from inside and out of the community,” Erickson said. “It’s an opportunity to really connect with people from other cultures and backgrounds. It’s just community on a special day.”

Matthews agreed.

“The church encourages international students to wear clothing that reflects their home country,” she said. “And they are open to LGBTQ students coming, which really excited me.” 

The ODI has already reserved vans and drivers to transport students and faculty, but it is seeking additional volunteers. Anyone interested can contact the ODI at or 218-477-2652. People can meet with volunteers at 11 a.m. in CMU 114 for rides to and from the church.

“We will be there together with them so they won’t be thrown into an unknown place without knowing anyone,” Matthews said. “People from the MSUM community will be there.”

Calls for delivery can be made  starting now through Nov. 24 by calling St. Joseph’s at 218-236-5066 or Trinity at 218-236-1333. St. Joseph’s is located at 218 10th St. S. in Moorhead. The best place to enter is the church’s south entrance.

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