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Group offers Thanksgiving dinner at Masonic Lodge
Meal will feature turkey, vegetables and pumpkin pie
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Thanksgiving dinner at Masonic Lodge No. 219

When: 2-5 p.m. Thursday

Where: 621 Lakeshore Drive, Gainesville

RSVP: or 678-480-0551

When Rose and Eugene Moon started planning Thanksgiving dinner, they thought no more than 50 people would come.

Now, they're preparing a meal for more than 300.

"We wanted to do something to help out those who are struggling because the economy is so bad," Rose Moon said Monday. "We knew a lot of people in need wouldn't be able to get anything for Thanksgiving."

She called up family friends Troy and Heather Phillips and Russell and Jason Gee to help fund the meal at the Masonic Lodge on Lakeshore Drive.

"It started small, with us thinking about the elderly people in the community who had lost loved ones or have kids that live across the country and wouldn't have any place to go," Troy Phillips said.

"Now, it's grown into that, plus people who aren't fortunate in the community."

After Phillips was featured on the radio last week to promote the meal, the RSVP numbers exploded.

"As soon as I got off the show, people started calling, and we quickly grew to 100 people," he said.
Through word-of-mouth, Facebook messages and radio announcements, the number of volunteers also grew.

"One person called me and said he would smoke some turkeys Wednesday night," Phillips said. "Others have called and said they're visiting family or have somewhere to be later but want to help serve food before they go."

The meal will feature traditional Thanksgiving fare including turkey, chicken, vegetables and pumpkin pie.

"The Salvation Army is bringing several families in need, and one of our volunteers is bringing homeless people from under the bridge and anyone he can get," Moon said. "This is the first time we've done this, but it's going so well, we want to do it every year."

After Phillips made another radio announcement Monday, local businesses donated enough cups, tea and cookies for 300 people.

"The community has really gone all out to help us with the food," Moon said. "Now we're trying to get the word out to the less fortunate to let them know we'll be serving until the food is gone."