Volunteers feed Arcata. Photos by John Ferrara.
Dozens of volunteers and hungry community members gathered at Arcata’s Veterans Memorial Building today for the annual Harvest Feast.
President of the Arcata Auxiliary club Sophia Bogner told the Outpost that the free meal was recently brought back after facing funding issues in previous years.
“From our knowledge, this was an annual feast held every year by the veterans for the community, and then one year there wasn’t enough funds coming in so they started charging,” Bogner said. “It lost its popularity after that point. Last year was the first revitalized harvest feast.”
Bogner said that the Thanksgiving Day feast was renamed to the annual Harvest Feast to make it more inclusive to different groups within the local community.
“We call it Harvest Feast because all countries, all continents, all people have a harvest every year, usually during the fall,” she said. “So we like to keep it nondenominational and culturally diverse.”
Commander of the local American Legion post Jeffrey Sterling said last year’s revival was a success, with more than 70 volunteers and 150 community members in attendance.
“Sophia and I like cooking, so I said ‘let’s bring back the harvest feast,’” Sterling said. “There’s no charge, anyone can come. Families are welcome, homeless, non homeless, anyone that wants a place to go eat, they can come here and have a family gathering. It’s not just for veterans.”
Sterling said the veterans building is also going through a revitalization process, with a $10,000 PA system that’s currently being installed, as well as restoration work to its canteen, and possibly the addition of a fence and victorian garden around the property.
The veterans hall feast ends at 5 p.m. A separate Thanksgiving feast was also held at the Arcata Community Center today, which ended at 2 p.m.