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Rosa Jackson holiday dinner Nov. 27

(ran East, South editions)

The 31st Rosa Jackson Thanksgiving Dinner, one of the city's older holiday traditions, is Nov. 27 at Campbell Park Recreation Center, 601 14th St. S.

The feast, which relies on volunteers and contributions, is free and open to all from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It usually draws 200 to 300 people, some of whom have no place else to go or who live on the street.

Others come for the fellowship and as a jump-start to the holiday season.

The meal originated at the Eighth Avenue S home of the late Rosa Jackson, who always said the Lord told her to invite people to her house to eat. The first year, 50 people showed up. By the next year, the crowd was beginning to outgrow the house, and so the event moved to Campbell Park.

Once again, Mrs. Jackson's grandson, Darryl Jones, will do the cooking and much of the shopping. He travels from Orlando a few days early to begin. He and his family maintained the tradition after Mrs. Jackson died in 1996.

"We want to keep it going forever," Jones said.

He prepares turkeys in both a stove and a backyard cooker. Stuffing, vegetables and other trimmings are donated. Up to $3,000 worth of food is consumed at the dinner.

Contributions of cash and food are welcome. For information, call at 327-7496.