by Marilee Jolin
They are expecting to feed at least 200 people at this week’s Collaboratory Thanksgiving Feast. But don’t ask Annette Jones, who organizes the annual event, how many of those are volunteers and how many are “attenders”. At this dinner, everyone eats together and no one differentiates between servers and served.
For Jones, co-founder of Jones Community Services and a coworking partner at The Collaboratory, it is imperative that the Collab Thanksgiving bring people together, on the same level, instead of elevating some as servers and others as needing service. As she recently said to a group of potential volunteers, “This is not a soup kitchen.” The primary job of volunteers, according to Jones, is to be present and engaged with the community that gathers on Thanksgiving day. “Your job is to have fun,” she said. “Your job is to share of yourself and tell stories and enjoy the food and encourage others to do the same.”
The annual Collaboratory Thanksgiving is a joint effort between The Collaboratory, Valley & Mountain Fellowship and Jones Community Solutions. Last year’s inaugural Thanksgiving Feast was a huge success; touted by some as exactly what the holiday should be about: bringing people from all walks of life together in gratitude and abundance.
Last years’ attenders attested to the familial vibe Jones works so hard to establish. Rachel Tefft, who plans to return to the Collab Feast this Thursday notes that the gathering last year was more like a family event, rather than a service organization. “It felt like any holiday does when its spent with family,” Tefft recalls. “Kids were playing, folks were watching football, people shared what they were thankful for and, of course, everyone took turns hanging out in the kitchen”.
And the kitchen is a great place to hang out, considering that it is full of delicious Thanksgiving food. On Wednesday – likely until the wee hours of the morning – Jones and her core volunteers will get to work preparing the feast: prepping turkey and all the fixings for 200+ diners. By Thursday at 10am, the tables will be loaded up with all the traditional American Thanksgiving treats from turkey to stuffing to pumpkin pie.
All are welcome to attend this community feast! Come on down to 5623 Rainier Ave S (corner of Rainier and Orcas) from 10am till 7pm Thursday, November 26 for warm smiles, comfy couches, delicious Thanksgiving food and the priceless company of your South Seattle neighbors!
There’s no better way to spend your Thanksgiving!