The owner and employees of Verona Pizza House in Lehighton will host a free Thanksgiving meal this Thursday for members of the community in need. The meal will be offered from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Lehighton Rec Center on Eighth and Iron streets in Lehighton.

The community lunch is also sponsored by the office of Dr. William Howland, a Lehighton dentist.

"This is to give back to the community for being so good to us," says Bobby Buglov, the owner of Verona Pizza House, who encourages members of the community in need of a hot meal or company to come to the rec center. "We're doing it for people in need, the less fortunate. After the storm, I thought that some people could use a free meal."

The meal will be prepared by staff members on site at Verona Pizza House, and then transported to the Rec Center in time for the meal. Employees at Verona have also volunteered to help serve the meal.

"We'll do turkey, some stuffing, some potatoes and vegetables. This will be just like a Thanksgiving meal you would cook at home," he added.

While this year's meal was arranged with relatively short notice, Buglov hopes to make this an annual event one that grows each year.

"If it works well, we hope to do something bigger next year, maybe with more businesses involved," says Buglov. "We've never done anything like this before."

No reservations are required for the meal, although seating may be limited depending on the community turnout.

Local community members with questions can contact Buglov at (570) 620-8622.

The Lehighton Rec Center is located at 243 South 8th St. in Lehighton.