Today I am focusing solely on one good person, for his deeds deserve the spotlight.It began 33 years ago in 1985, when Scott Macaulay’s parents divorced, and he found himself all alone for the Thanksgiving holiday. He was divorced also, and he really didn’t want to spend the day alone watching football with a tv dinner, or grab a burger from McDonald’s for his Thanksgiving dinner, so he placed an ad in the local paper, asking 12 strangers to join him for Thanksgiving dinner.Well, he got twelve strangers to join him that year, and he enjoyed it so much that he has continued the tradition of a free Thanksgiving feast every year since. He has hosted widows, the homeless, and college kids who can’t go home for the holiday. Today, he estimates that he has about 70 people each year, and sometimes as many as 100, and he has no intention of stopping. About a week before the day, he goes grocery shopping, and while he won’t say exactly how much he spends on the food to feed the crowd, he did say that it’s over $1,000! And apart from an occasional small donation from someone who has attended one of his dinners, Macauley fully funds this all himself. He says he begins saving for next year right after the meal is finished.
Macauley lived just north of Boston in the town of Melrose, Massachusetts. Obviously, he cannot do all that cooking, nor fit all those people, in his house, so he prepares and serves the meal at a local church that donates the space each year. The menu 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. I typically cook for 8-10 people on Thanksgiving, and that is exhausting! I cannot imagine how many hours this man must spend on his feet, in the kitchen, and all to do something good for others.He goes all out, too … no skimping here! A few days before, he hauls in sofas, recliners, oriental rugs, even a couple of fake fireplaces, and decorates the church’s 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.
“This isn’t about the food, though. 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 he has memories …
“There was a guy one year who’d just lost his wife. And after dinner, he put on her old apron and helped me to do the dishes.”
One year, he said, 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. She cried when dinner was over.
Another year, Macaulay took a plate out to a woman who was living in her car and was too ashamed of her plight to come inside until almost everyone had gone home.
Then there was the time his parents both showed up. Macaulay’s mother was dying of breast cancer and wanted to be with family. So did his dad. “There they were, sitting on the couch together, holding each other’s hand, years after their divorce. I can still see them sitting there. That’s a happy memory.”
Macaulay also has a son, Walter, 22, who pitches in to help serve and clean up. He’s the designated turkey carver. Neither father nor son batted an eye a few years ago when Macaulay’s ex-wife strolled in with her new husband and offered to play the piano while everyone ate!
Imagine if just a few people in every city did what Scott Macauley is doing? He is a true humanitarian, something we need many more of today. Thank you, Scott Macauley, for your contribution to the people in your town, and for giving the rest of us just a wee bit of hope for the future of humanity.