BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – For the first time since before the pandemic, Binghamton High School held its annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner in the school’s cafeteria today.

After months of organizing and preparing, the day has finally come, and over 100 Binghamton High School students volunteered their time to provide meals to their community in need.

The event is entirely free to the public, and a shuttle bus has designated times and pick-up locations throughout the city to bring in as many people as possible.

Nevaeh Martins is a sophomore at Binghamton and says that compared to the past two years of takeout meals, being back in person creates a more vibrant atmosphere.

Sophomore at Binghamton High School Nevaeh Martins says, “Person to person connection, so it’s really better than takeout. It actually brings the community in and sometimes, people takeout, you go home, you eat, but like right now, you’re bringing everybody in as a family as like one and it really just feels good to actually sit down and you get to talk with people and interact with people that you maybe couldn’t do before.”

The students have been fully involved in the planning process and have several stations in the cafeteria to lend a hand.

Students wash the dishes, greet people at the door, serve the meals, buss the tables, and more.

A junior at the high school, August Guba says that returning back to an in-person event shows the drive and passion within the Binghamton community.

Junior at BInghamton High School August Guba says, “coming out of COVID, we had a lot of lulls, there wasn’t really a lot of big community gatherings, obviously, and I think just coming out of that, showing strength in the community and being able to put on a big event such as this, I think that really kind of ties everyone a little bit closer, and also it brings a better name for the school.”

Those in attendance got to choose from a traditional Thanksgiving spread including turkey, sweet and or mashed potatoes, stuffing, buttered corn, and pie for dessert.

You even get a cookie to go on your way out the door.

The event resulted in hundreds of people across Binghamton who may not have had a dinner today with a hot, freshly made Thanksgiving feast.