GOSHEN — For nearly a decade, Goshen College communications professor Jason Samuel and his family have been opening up their doors to international college students and others who couldn’t be with their families for the Thanksgiving holiday.
This Thursday, that tradition was continued in spades.
According to Samuel, the idea for the annual Thanksgiving tradition began back in 2004 when his wife, Jenny, and son, Colin, were sitting down to a small Thanksgiving meal of their own.
“When I was going to college here in Goshen, going home to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving wasn’t too feasible for me, so I ended up staying on campus, and it was deserted as you can imagine,” Samuel said. “Then after I got married, I found myself working a lot of Thanksgiving weekends, so my wife and I, we never really traveled for Thanksgiving. So usually it was just us and our son, and we had these tiny little Thanksgivings. So one day I just thought, ‘Hey, I remember what it was like to be alone on Thanksgiving in college, so why not do our own big Thanksgiving dinner here and invite some of the kids.’ And that’s how it all started.”
Jump to 2013, and the annual dinner is more popular than ever, with between 20 and 30 students from the college on average finding their way to the Samuel’s home for appetizers, maybe a little football (Green Bay vs. Detroit), and of course, a Thanksgiving meal to make anyone envious.
“Normally we do turkey and ham, but this year we’re doing turkey, two honey baked hams and a Pekin duck,” Samuel said with a laugh. “And we’ve got enough sides, I think we could probably feed 50 people easy. We’ve got vegetarian and sausage stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, cranberry sauce, a ridiculous number of biscuits... you name it. Then we’ve got like five pies, a few gallons of ice cream. It’s insane.”