TOPEKA (KSNT) — The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in the Capital City is honoring the late Pauline “Grandma” Johnson with a ceremony prior to the big dinner.
Grandma Johnson started the tradition of the dinner back in 1968 with another Topeka native, Addie Spicer. At the first dinner, they served around 50-75 different meals. Now, they are serving up to 3,000.
Ms. Johnson has been at every single Community Thanksgiving Dinner since it started. Sadly, this past spring, she passed away. So, staff and volunteers at the dinner decided to honor Ms. Johnson this year.
“She helped individuals that needed, be it clothing or items for their house, or if someone simply needed someone to listen to them,” said Dwight Menke, the treasurer of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
Menke also noted that he believes Johnson is still with them, as she could never let someone go hungry, especially on Thanksgiving.
“Anybody who so much as thought that they were hungry, she would come back in this kitchen, and she would make you a sandwich or fix you something to eat,” he said. “She always wanted to make sure that everyone was well fed, and she did that.”
The presentation will start around 4:30 or 5 p.m. at Ag Hall on Thursday, Nov. 23.