Ss. Peter & Paul’s Turkey Dinner still providing meals 53 years later

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

When members of Ss. Peter & Paul first started holding the Turkey Dinner back on December 8, 1968, little did they know that 53 years later that it would be one of the biggest events in Boonville.

Although this year’s Turkey Dinner on Sunday, November 7th will be drive thru only again due to the pandemic, Ss. Peter & Paul Church will also be delivering meals. The Turkey Dinner will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will consist of baked turkey and bone-in-ham along with mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy and all the trimmings.

The cost is $12 per meal; however, patrons can also donate to the Ss. Peter & Paul Donation Challenge with all funds raised going towards paying  the Ss. Peter & Paul Insurance. Three ways to donate are: cash, check (made out to Ss. Peter & Paul), or via Venmo at SSPPDonationChallenge.

For delivery, call 660-882-6468.

Diane Brimer, bookkeeper/secretary for Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, said the first Turkey Dinner originated from 1968-1973 as a smorgasbord dinner and was held by the PTA to raise money for the school. She said it was apparent that the church also needed a way to raise some money. “Edna Lammers brought up that they could do a Turkey Dinner and she’d do the dressing, with the proceeds going to the church,” Brimer said. “From that time on, the Turkey Dinner was held, but got moved from December to November because of bad weather a few years in a row. The dinner was held at the school for several years before moving to the church hall.”

The Turkey Dinner is also done by volunteers. Brimer said when you include those who bake turkeys at home, pies or cakes, those that do prep work a few days before, and those that work on the actual day of the event, you are looking at approximately 100 volunteers. She said this number is down from pre-COVID years because the dinner won’t be offering in person seating. Brimer added that those years when in personal seating happened, it took many more.

As for the drive-thru or delivery only again this year, Brimer said a decision had to be made of whether or not to offer in person seating, there was an uptick in COVID related cases. She said the committee felt the best option was to go with drive-thru and delivery only again this year.

“Most years we serve 1,500-plus dinners,” Brimer said. “Last year was the best year so far with the number being 1,775 dinners served.”

Of course the menu is the one thing that has stayed true since its existence. Brimer said dinners consist of turkey, ham, mashed patotoes/gravy, dressing, green beans, and a choice of dessert (pumpkin, pecan, cherry and coconut cream pies or chocolate sheet case).

Brimer added that over the years, the proceeds from the dinner have also gone to a variety of financial needs. However for several years now, the proceeds were raised to help defray the rising costs of insurance for the property of the parish. “Since Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Parish has moved into a full stewardship model with the diocese, the money will be used to help with the needs of the parish, which will include the property insurance, as well as, other costly needs.”