For many, the holidays are a time of celebration and family togetherness. But for others, the holidays aren’t so easy. Those who have trouble around this time of the year aren’t alone.
There are many opportunities to share a Thanksgiving meal in Athens. One place people can grab a bite and socialize is at United Campus Ministry, or UCM, 18 N. College St., at Ohio University’s annual Rainbow Thanksgiving dinner.
“We’ve been doing the Thanksgiving meal for a number of years now,” Rev. Evan Young, executive director of UCM, said. “(The event) is co-sponsored by the Ohio University LGBT Center and the Southeastern Ohio Rainbow Alliance (SEORA).”
Rainbow Thanksgiving starts at 5:30 p.m. The dinner is free, and everyone is welcome. For Young, the yearly event is a special and welcoming occasion. The dinner provides a safe environment for those who may not have it at home.
“Specifically, we invite people who don’t have a welcoming place to go over the holidays,” Young said.
The food for Rainbow Thanksgiving will be prepared by UCM staff. They will provide a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. To Young, Rainbow Thanksgiving really embodies the meaning of the holiday.
“Some people don’t feel welcome (at home),” Young said. “It’s an opportunity to gather with people who love and accept them. Everyone is welcomed and included. It’s a celebration that touches on the good points of (people’s) memories associated with the holiday.”
Another option is a dinner at Cutler’s Restaurant inside the Ohio University Inn & Conference Center, 331 Richland Ave. The dinner is a Thanksgiving meal for many families, Brittan Posey, a manager at Cutler’s, said.
“(The dinner) is about having the time to get together,” Posey said. “It’s what you make of it.”
The dinner is served buffet-style. The menu is large and varied but is mostly focused on serving traditional Thanksgiving food, such as turkey, green beans and cranberry sauce. Special preparation can be done on request.
Thanksgiving dinner at Cutler’s Restaurant is very exciting, Posey said. For him, it’s a communal event that makes people happy.
“It feels so good to see other people happy,” Posey said. “We do it because it brings the community together.”
The dinner is not free, and while walk-ins are welcome, Posey recommends reserving a table because seats go fast. The dinner will have traditional Thanksgiving television playing in the background, such as the Macy’s Day Parade.
The third option for a Thanksgiving meal is at The Olde Dutch Restaurant, 12791 State Route 664, in Logan.
Thanksgiving dinner at The Olde Dutch Restaurant, which costs $16.99, is a popular attraction, Jin Ju Evans, a hostess at the Olde Dutch, said.
“We get very, very busy,” Evans said. “We see a lot of families who don’t see each other a lot during the year. They all travel here from other places.”
Evans thinks the homestyle food and family-friendly atmosphere is what makes Olde Dutch a holiday destination.
Other places holding Thanksgiving dinners include Tavolino, 9 N. Shafer St., and M&M Family Diner, 34 W. Main St., in Logan.