The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is at a crossroads. The long-time coordinator, Tonya Wales, will be leaving Durango this fall. The kitchen/food lead person (Charles) that is essential to the dinner does not want to continue. There are no volunteers on the team able to step into either of these roles. Since the pandemic, Manna has served to-go meals for Thanksgiving.

The Community Thanksgiving Dinner started as an ecumenical event. In the past, there were representatives from several churches at all of the event planning meetings. That has not happened in several years. Summit, Christ the King Lutheran, and St. Marks have continued to be heavily involved every year. 1st Presbyterian and Sacred Heart have contributed as well in recent years.

For the Durango Community Thanksgiving Dinner to continue at the Fairgrounds

the churches are going to need to take charge of the leadership and planning for the event, as well as food preparation. Tonya Wales can train a person to take over as event coordinator. The kitchen/food prep lead role is crucial to the event; Charles can train a qualified individual for that position. Volunteers who have lead the decorations and dessert are still able to fill those roles.Our community partners can continue to provide their resources and support.

As added pressure, there is someone who wants to book the Fairgrounds for the Friday after Thanksgiving with some set-up on Wednesday. The Fairgrounds must know as soon as possible whether the Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be going forward. If the churches will commit to fully support the Community Thanksgiving Dinner with leadership, planning and food preparation, it can continue at the Fairgrounds. If that is not possible, then it is time to pass this on to Manna.

Please email Tonya Wales at provide your feed back as soon as possible so that a decision can be made and the Fairgrounds and Manna can be notified.

Summit Church, Durango