Letter: Thanksgiving day dinner will have big changes this year
Itís September, time to start planning for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner! This year, because of the coronavirus, we will be making major changes to the meal. Because the majority of those we serve are senior citizens, those most at-risk, we are taking precautions to see that we keep both our volunteers and seniors safe. This will be my 17th year promoting this meal. I feel blessed to have great volunteers and the health to make it happen.
Last year we served 732 meals ó 653 being delivered into the community by our volunteers who cared enough to give up a portion of their holiday to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy a traditional meal they would otherwise not have enjoyed. These volunteers show up year after year to be a part of this endeavor. We couldnít serve the 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 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. In the past, we would knock on doors in senior house. We wonít be doing that this year because of the virus. I know how important these contacts were to some, but we feel itís necessary for the safety of the people we serve. We wonít be serving people inside the VFW building either. All meals will be TO-GO and MUST be picked up. There will be NO meals delivered. So if you know someone who needs a meal and doesnít have the means to come get it, please come get it for them. Please, please, began angel in street clothes to something this Thanksgiving. The to-go meals may be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.
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 and serve up the to-go meals. We do not solicit cash, but rather ask for Walmart or Food Giant gift cards and food items, which included 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 out. Cakes, pies and other desserts are needed the day before or morning of Thanksgiving and may be delivered to the VFW building.
If you are a home health aide, please come pick up a meal for you and your client.
Please DO NOT call the VFW. If you want to make a donation, you can contact Marlene Stevens at (573) 471-8697. If you leave a message, your call will be returned.
Gift cards may be sent to 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 has been comprised and it takes longer to be delivered.
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