Letter: Plans underway for annual community Thanksgiving meal
Itís September, and I am working daily, planning for the Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Last year because of the coronavirus, we made made major changes to the meal. We will be following those changes again this year in order to keep our volunteers and those we serve safe from the new variation. This is my 18th year promoting this meal. I feel blessed to have great volunteers and the health to make it happen. Iím planning on going for 20 years!
Last year we served 680 meals TO GO. The process went smoothly. Those meals were cooked, served up and handed out 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. These volunteers show up year after year to be a part of this endeavor. We couldnít serve this community and the surrounding area without their help! They are awesome people that I call ďAngels in street clothes.Ē
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.
Our efforts start with this letter, a lot of planning, list making, shopping and preparations. In the past we would knock on doors in senior housing. 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 be an ďAngel in street clothesĒ to someone this Thanksgiving. The TO GO meals may be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, which is Thursday, Nov. 25.
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 from 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. He never lets us down.
Our goal is to see that no senior goes without the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but no one is turned away! 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 include, but are not limited to: institutional-sized cans of green beans, corn, yams, instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, turkey, 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 the 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 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 compromised and it takes longer to be delivered.
This year, in addition to other worries, there is the fact the we are experiencing shortages; a lot of grocery shelves are empty so PLEASE get your donations in early so that we can avoid those empty shelves.
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. Makes me proud to live here.
Marlene Stevens, coordinator
Communiy Thanksgiving Dinner