3 Dead, 5 Sick From A Thanksgiving Meal By Local Church

Crockpot Potluck filled with chili

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time where families, friends and even churches open their doors so that people can come eat, break bread and enjoy each other’s company.  But one Thanksgiving gathering at a church turned deadly.

Three people died and five others were sickened after eating a Thanksgiving meal prepared at Antioch’s American Legion Hall by a local church, according to a California Contra Costa County Health Services spokeswoman, CBS San Francisco reported.

All eight people were admitted to Sutter Delta Medical Center at various times on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Out of the 835 people who at the meal, three people died, four were treated and released and one person remains hospitalized, according to the hospital.

Autrey James, commander at American Legion Post 161, said Golden Hills Community Church was responsible for preparing the meals on Thanksgiving.

“We are extremely, extremely upset that anyone lost their lives,” James said. “We were not ourselves involved in the cooking of the meal.”

The cause of the deaths and illnesses is still under investigation, said Health Services spokeswoman Victoria Balladares.

Veteran Esidor Alviar was among hundreds of people at the dinner Thursday and said he too experienced some symptoms later in the evening.

“It was a nice dinner, turkey, stuffing, cranberries and coffee,” Alviar said. “About one o’clock in the morning, I had cramps and a terrible stomachache. I had to run to the bathroom really bad. I was sick. I thought about going to the hospital, but I hate hospitals.”