In the town of Melrose, just northwest of Boston, there are about 27,000 people; most of them will be spending their Thanksgiving with family or friends, but for one special group it is a little different. Anywhere from 60 to 100 people will be gathering in the basement of Melrose’s Green Street Baptist Church for a dinner which is funded and prepared primarily by one man; his name is Scott Macaulay and he has been hosting this dinner for over three decades.
It all began back in 1985 when Scott thought he was going to have to spend Thanksgiving alone, his parents had recently divorced and his family were not handling it well. But Scott hated the thought of eating alone and decided he would host a few people at the First Baptist Church he attended, so he put an ad in the paper inviting 12 people to join him, thinking that surely there were at least so many who were going to be alone and did not wish to be. He received that many with more asking if they could come. Over the years Scott has expanded his invitation practices and now anyone who wishes to is welcome to join him in the basement of Melrose’s Green Street Baptist Church, which now donates space for the dinner every year, from widows, widowers, homeless people to college kids who can’t make it home. A few years ago, one woman even crawled under the table – All are welcome.
Everyone is invited to join him in this dinner he prepares which includes four large turkeys, five kinds of pie (pumpkin, apple, mince, cherry and the ever-popular Hershey’s frozen sundae pie), sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, butternut squash, cranberries, fruit cups and rolls with butter. But Scott says it isn’t about the food, “It’s about having a place to go. Silence is unbearable, especially on Thanksgiving. My goal is always to replicate the feeling of having a nice dinner in somebody’s home.” And in service of that a few days beforehand, he hauls in sofas, recliners, rugs, even a couple of fake fireplaces, and decorates a rec hall to resemble a cozy living room. Candlesticks and cloth napkins are placed on the tables, curtains are hung in the windows, and adjoining rooms are set up for guests to relax and get to know each other over appetizers: chips and dip in one room and cheese and crackers in the next.
But it’s the stories of the people who have come to this meal that truly touch the heart strings. From an elderly woman paid $200 for an ambulance to drive her to the church from her nursing home. She arrived decked out in fancy clothes and told Macaulay she hadn’t been out in seven years and she cried when dinner was over. To his own parents who sat on a couch holding hands one year. This dinner brings people together in a way that is truly miraculous.
When asked about that woman who spent the meal under the table? “I don’t ask questions,” Macaulay said. “She got served the same as anyone.” As Scott has said; All are welcome.
Read more about this remarkable man and his Thanksgiving dinner in your Good News Story of the Day at The Washington Post.
Story and Image from The Washington Post.