The Arlington American Legion Post 76 will be providing 200 free Thanksgiving meals for the community this year.

The meals will be available on Thanksgiving day at the American Legion Post at 115 N. Olympic Avenue in the back parking lot.

They will be packaged “to go” and given out in a drive-through basis.

The Legion will be providing the dinners from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“This started when the American Legion wanted to provide Thanksgiving dinner for all of the veterans in the community,” said Ken Sutton, a member of the Arlington American Legion Post and one of the organizers of the community dinner event. “We received so many donations that we were able to open up to the entire community though."

Members of the Legion hoped to provide a free meal this year and began collecting donations earlier in the year.

“Some churches stepped up and gave us what we needed to provide,” said Sutton.

He said he wasn’t surprised that so many donations came in for the event.

“Our community is a wonderful community,” said Sutton.

Sutton hopes the event will put some good will out into Arlington.

“I think we’ve all been through a lot in the last year and half,” he said. “It’s really given people an opportunity to show how we take care of our community."

The Thanksgiving meals will be professionally catered, served hot and will be free.

“We didn’t want to charge for the meal,” said Sutton. “We’re still taking donations but that won’t be necessary to come get a meal."

The event is first come, first served, and the American Legion has about 200 meals to hand out for the day.

The food provided will be many of the classic holiday staples.

“It will be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” said Sutton, which will include turkey, “real mashed potatoes with real gravy,” cranberry sauce, stuffing, a dessert and other foods associated with the holiday.

The event is run by the American Legion but is open for the entire community.

“If anybody is in need of a meal, they can come down to get one,” said Sutton.

“We want to make sure that if anybody needs a meal, they get one,” added.

Members are excited to provide the community dinner and Sutton said the event, or similar efforts, could continue after this year.

“They’re wanting to do more of this kind of thing in the future,” he said.

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