Letter: Preparations are underway for Thanksgiving day meal
Here it is, the end of September; the weather is cooling down somewhat. School is back in session, and itís time once again to focus on the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. I canít believe how fast this year has gone by. Sixteen years ago I had the opportunity to take charge of this annual meal. I have never been sorry I said yes or more proud to do so. Ö I am blessed with great volunteers and the good health to make it all happen.
Last year our numbers increased from the previous year, and we were able to serve 749 meals, with 689 of those being delivered into the community by volunteers who cared enough to give up a portion of their holiday to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy a traditional meal they otherwise would not have enjoyed. These volunteers show up year after year to be a part of this endeavor. We couldnít serve this community and surrounding area without their help. They are awesome people! I call them angels in street clothes.
There are so many wonderful volunteers who participate in this effort: those who donate, those who help prepare, those who serve, those who deliver, those who help clean up. Once someone gets involved, they usually continue to help. Itís a good way to fellowship and the good feeling you get from giving lasts long after the meal is over. So if youíre looking for a way to give to your community, come join us. Ö
Our efforts start with this letter, a lot of planning and list making, then move on to the ďwalk roundsĒ where we contact all those in senior housing in the area, taking names, leaving information and creating good will among the seniors. Weíve found these contacts to be as important as the meal. People are always glad to see us, always want to visit. Sometimes itís hard to leave them because they are so interesting to talk to. Most are just lonely and hungry for conversation. Every year we meet new people and find some of the old ones have passed on. We donít want to leave anyone out, so if you know someone in the community who doesnít live in senior housing but perhaps is along on Thanksgiving, please call us and give us their name so we can see that they get a meal.
All of us who participate have a passion to serve those who are forgotten, outlived friends, have no family or just find themselves alone on this traditional holiday for whatever reason.
Beverly Baker started this meal in her kitchen many years ago, feeding 75 people. Several different venues and many years down the road, itís grown to be what it is today. God is in the details. Ö He never lets us down.
Our goal is to see that no senior goes without the traditional Thanksgiving meal. To meet that goal, here is how you can help: we need volunteers to help prepare, serve and deliver meals. We do not solicit cash, but rather ask for Walmart or Food Giant gift cards and food items, which include but are not limited to: institutional-sized cans of green beans, corn, yams, instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and turkeys, keeping in mind, if you are donating a turkey, we need it far enough in advance to thaw it out. Cakes, pies and other desserts are needed the day before or the morning of Thanksgiving and may be delivered to the VFW building.
Anyone who is or knows a home health aide, please call us about a meal for your client. Cut-off time for reservations for a meal is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26. There will be no one to take your call after that. Please call in time to get your name on the list and please do not call the VFW. Use the numbers listed below. Contact persons are: Marlene Stevens at (573) 471-8697 and Mary Carr at (573) 472-0261. If you leave a message, your call will be returned.
Gift cards may be sent or dropped off at Marlene Stevens, 212 Kate Drive, Sikeston, MO 63801. Canned goods may be dropped off at that address or you may call and we will pick them up. Please keep in mind, if you are mailing gift cards, our mail now goes to St. Louis before coming back to Sikeston. It takes a lot longer than it did in the past to receive mail.
Your help in our efforts to feed our senior citizens on Thanksgiving Day is deeply appreciated. May God bless you generously for any consideration you may give this cause.
Each year the costs increase, but this community always steps up to the plate and answers our call for help. Ö Makes me proud to live here.
Marlene Stevens, coordinator
Community Thanksgiving Dinner