Members of American Legion Post 55 of Hannibal were busy baking 28 turkeys and preparing the side dishes for the free Thanksgiving dinner they provide each year, joined by volunteer servers, including young children.

Members of American Legion Post 55 of Hannibal were busy baking 28 turkeys and preparing the side dishes for the free Thanksgiving dinner they provide each year, joined by volunteer servers, including young children.

Pausing between deliveries, Ronn Pashia, who helps every year, was happy to report 435 dinners were being delivered this year.

The menu included turkey, dressing, noodles, potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie.

Among the youngest servers helping fill dinner plates were Sam, Henry and Eva Gasaway, whose parents, Rob and Michele, also were dishing up food. They said the family had recently moved to Hannibal.

Debbie Hodges, Aaliyah Hills, Stephanie Landers and Randy Hills also helped serve.

The cooking crew included Chuck Houston and his wife, Sharon, who have helped prepare the dinner for the past 22 years. He said it was a team effort to bake 28 turkeys in two days.

Sharon Houston makes the dressing every year using a recipe from her dad, the late Ray Ball.

Tammy Harr, this year's Thanksgiving dinner chairperson, said approximately 600 meals were prepared this year, estimating nearly 150 meals were being served in the dining room, including carry-outs, in addition to the 435 delivered.

Harr said she had lots of help in planning and preparing this traditional holiday dinner. “We have been having meetings once a week for four weeks.”

Expressing appreciation for the people who donated food and funds for the dinner, Harr said, “It is all done by donations from the public. … Many Legion members donate a turkey or two. … Bob Cavanagh donates a check for the noodles every year.”

In addition to the pies that are purchased, people drop off pies throughout the week at the American Legion Hall, 3819 Highway MM, she said.

American Legion Post 55 joined Facebook this year. Harr said, “It really made it nice” regarding publicity and donations for the dinner.

See the photo gallery for more pictures of the Thanksgiving dinner.

bev.darr@courierpost.com