Paying it Forward Thompson Falls couple opens their door for Thanksgiving dinner

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Frank Betts gets ready to attack his Thanksgiving meal, prepared by his wife, Jamie. (Photo provided)

Jamie Shinnaberry Betts wanted to give back to the community that has given her a home.

For Thanksgiving, the Thompson Falls resident and her husband, Frank, opened their home up to anyone that wanted to be surrounded by people.

“When I asked my husband, he was on board,” she said, adding that he said no one should be alone on a holiday.

Shinnaberry Betts said she was inspired to invite people she didn’t know after seeing someone make a similar post on a Missoula County-based social media website.

Following the conversation with Frank, together they figured “why not invite people?”

The couple, who previously lived in Missoula, moved to Thompson Falls in April.

The decision to move to Sanders County came from each time the couple visited family in Noxon, they found themselves not wanting to leave.

“Since we’ve moved here, people have been so nice and kind. This is the kind of life we wanted,” Shinnaberry Betts said.

MAKING AN initial post about a week before Thanksgiving on a Sanders County Facebook page, Shinnaberry Betts said no one messaged her with interest.

“When I put that out there, no one responded,” Shinnaberry Betts said. People would comment “oh, that’s so nice of you,” but no one RSVP’d “yes.”

It wasn’t until Shinnaberry Betts made a new post on a different page that a woman responded, saying she would like to partake in the holiday feast.

Christina, much like Shinnaberry Betts and her husband, recently moved to Sanders County. She is recovering from surgery and her husband, a truck driver, was on the road for the holiday.

“It was a really good dinner. She was fun, open and a dog lover, which we have two (dogs),” Shinnaberry Betts said. “It wasn’t like eating with a stranger.”

The only thing Shinnaberry Betts asked of her guest was that she bring containers, as the hostess said she always cooks enough “for 20 people.”

GOING FORWARD, Shinnaberry Betts said that she would host another holiday, reiterating she wants people to have a place to go for holidays.

“I’ve been alone for holidays. It sucks. Nobody should be alone.” she said.

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