Donations still being sought for annual community meal

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

SIKESTON — With Thanksgiving a week away, organizers of this year’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner are making final preparations and remain in need of donations.

For example, longtime event organizer Marlene Stevens of Sikeston said canned sweet potatoes are in need for this year’s meal, which will be served as carryout only on Thanksgiving Day.

“We have not received some of our usual donations this year so we are in need of canned sweet potatoes,” Stevens said Monday.

Set for Thanksgiving day, which is Nov. 26, the free meals can be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Sikeston. All individuals entering the building must wear a mask, which will not be provided, Stevens said.

As individuals arrive to pickup meals, they will come to the front door of the VFW, where carryouts will be stacked on a table for them to pick up, Stevens said.

“There will be no meals delivered,” said Stevens, who is in her 17th year promoting this meal. “So if you know someone who needs a meal and doesn’t have the means to come get it, please come get it for them. Please, please, be an angel in street clothes to someone this Thanksgiving. If you are a home health aide, please come pick up a meal for you and your client... Our goal is to see that no senior goes without the traditional Thanksgiving meal.”

In the past, the American Legion and Food Giant often donate the turkeys for the meal, and the rest is through community group and individual donations, Stevens said.

In 2016, the dinner served a record total 843 meals with 712 of those meals delivered into the community and the remaining served at VFW Hall. In 2019, the event served 732 meals — 653 being delivered into the community by volunteers.

The free meal includes turkey, dressing, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, ham, rolls and dessert. The meal, which was started years ago by Sikeston resident Beverly Baker, is organized entirely through donations from the community, Stevens noted.

To feed over 700 people, requires volunteers and donated items, Stevens said. It takes over 30 turkeys and 18 pans of dressing as well as numerous institutional-sized cans of vegetables, she said.

In addition, those who want to donate gift cards to Walmart or Food Giant are also appreciated, she said.

Desserts can be dropped off at the VFW from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at the VFW Hall or before 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving day.

“Do not call the VFW,” Stevens said. “If you want to make a donation, you can contact me. If you leave a message, your call will be returned.”

Canned goods may be dropped off at 212 Kate Drive, or goods can be picked up by contacting Stevens at (573) 471-8697. For additional information, contact Stevens.

“We’re still going to have a meal, but we will not be delivering or directly serving the food,” Stevens said. “All the meals will have to be ‘to-go,’ and we feel like that’s the best way to do it to keep everyone safe this year.”

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