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Thornton residents treated to "thank you" meal


May 28, 2020
THORNTON – When the governor issued a Stay at Home order for New Hampshire residents as the COVID-19 virus moved into the state back in mid-March, residents of Thornton, like most communities, heeded his words by not only staying home but practicing social distancing and wearing masks when they did have to go out in public. For the overwhelming compliance in keeping their town safe, Benton's Sugar Shack and Monti's Maple Farm felt the community needed to be thanked in some way for their efforts.

"We thought everyone here deserved something they could look forward to," said Thornton selectman Joe Monti of Monti's Maple Farm.

With that in mind, he and his wife Donna teamed up with fellow selectman Brad Benton, Mike Benton and the rest of the family from Benton's Sugar Shack to host a free pasta dinner for their town.

They began by asking residents to send them an email with the number of "to-go" orders they would like for their household and as a result they received orders for 272 dinners. Knowing not everyone might have been able to respond in time however, the group planned for extra dinners, too.

Monti said his wife Donna, who is also the Town Clerk, pitched in by making 800 meatballs for the town dinner. The kitchen crew, comprised of Brad and Mike Benton, Mel Deroehn, Brad Archer and Monti, also prepared 15 gallons of sauce and cooked up 65 pounds of pasta for the main course. Mike Benton chipped in by baking his own homemade garlic bread and there was a fresh salad that went along with the meal. Topping it all off was Maple Walnut Biscotti for dessert, made by Clarissa Utley who used maple sugar from both the Monti's and the Benton's maple farms.

"The meals were all homemade right here in Thornton," said Monti.

Starting at 4 p.m. last Wednesday, everyone was directed through the parking lot at Benton's Sugar Shack to a designated pick-up area where a team of volunteers then brought the orders to their vehicles. The kitchen staff was also standing by to make sure there were plenty of dinners on hand for all who stopped by.

Later that afternoon, Thornton Police Chief Kenneth Miller and his staff did their part by making deliveries to anyone else who was unable to pick up their dinners in person.

"It's been a nice community effort to just say thanks to our residents who have been doing their part as we all try to get through this. They've done a great job," Monti said.

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