What happens when students are unable to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, or are staying in Goshen but don’t have any plans? This is a the question that Jason Samuel, professor and WGCS General Manager, along with his family, have answered by hosting a Thanksgiving meal open to any and all students.Samuel is entering his 14th year of hosting this meal, and the average number of guests has grown to over 30 people. He said, “The table has gotten so long that we’ve had to turn it into an L-shape and it just fills up the whole bottom portion of our house.”
The origin of this meal dates back to when Samuel was in college at GC himself. Being from Philadelphia, he did not have an opportunity to go home and be with his family, but there was also no one on campus during this time to celebrate with. When Samuel started working on campus, he started his own Thanksgiving meal for students in the same position as he had been. That first meal, there were six guests who joined the Samuel family for Thanksgiving.
Samuel hosts the meal at 2 p.m. so students have plenty of time to make it. Students are welcome to arrive earlier and watch TV or just hang out. A yearly tradition for Samuel is watching the movie “Home Alone” while eating dessert.
After the meal, guests are welcome to stay as long as they like, because this is a day to celebrate being with friends.
Sara Azzuni took part in last year’s meal and notes that it “gives you the feel of being able to celebrate Thanksgiving for those who cannot go back home.” She definitely recommends going to this meal if you do not have any other plans for the break. She really enjoyed this event because it was very leisurely; everyone plays card games, watches football and just enjoys each other’s company.
Mashed potatoes, sweet corn, vegetable stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, biscuits, ham, cake, ice cream, different varieties of pie, and hot and cold drinks make up the menu. Samuel also notes that they will accommodate to dietary restrictions, such as requiring gluten-free or vegetarian options.
GC alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and students make up the guest list. He has had the privilege of hosting students from six out of the seven continents at one point.
Samuel states that while he never really never knows who and how many will show up to the meal, he is always confident that they will never run out of food. There will always be something for everyone.
One particular thing that is very touching for the Samuel’s family is the act of members of the community or GC faculty bringing them cooked food to add to their meal. This shows people’s support for the meal and their contribution towards it.
Make sure read the Communicator for more information if you are interested in attending this meal. The Samuel’s house is on 7th street, a short commute from GC.