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Members of the community attend the Turning Point Ministries Thanksgiving Day luncheon in Holtville in 2018. Due to the pandemic, Turning Point was to offer a drive-through version of its annual luncheon from its office at 449 Pine Ave. | FILE PHOTO

Turning Point’s Thanksgiving Luncheon Cancelled

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HOLTVILLE — Turning Point Life Center on Tuesday, Nov. 24, announced that its annual Thanksgiving luncheon has been cancelled at the direction of county Public Health Department officials.

Pastor Norm Chandler took to the ministry’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon to announce the luncheon’s cancellation shortly after being advised by the Imperial County Environmental Health Division that the event would not be permitted to go forward.

The cancellation marks the first time in more than 20 years that the church has not been able to host its annual Thanksgiving luncheon, Chandler said.

The cancellation was prompted by the recent rise of positive COVID-19 cases in the county and across the state and nation, Chandler said he was told by a local public health official on Tuesday.

Turning Point had planned to conduct a drive-through luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 26.

Failure to comply with the mandated cancellation could have potentially resulted in the closure of the church’s overall operations, Chandler said.

“If it was just a fine, I’d still do it,” he said. “But they said they would shut me down.”

The church now has plans to cook the 20 or so turkeys it has and freeze the meat in the hopes that it can be used at a later date.

Chandler also asked community members who had contributed to the luncheon’s pie drive to contact Turning Point to either request a reimbursement or notify the church that the monetary donation can be added to fund its Dec. 19 food box giveaway.

Comment from the Imperial County Public Health Department was not immediately available regarding the extent of the new local restrictions on public gatherings.

On Monday, Nov. 23, representatives had also notified the city of Holtville that its farmers market would not be permitted to proceed as scheduled on Dec. 3.