SOUTH FORK— The Kiwanis Club of South Fork hosted the 16th annual free Community Thanksgiving Dinner and it was amazing.
Karen Miller, president of the Kiwanis Club and Lt. Governor of District 5 in the Valley, said, “this event just gets better and better!”
Kiwanis spends almost a week just to get ready for the dinner and another week afterwards to get everything put away, inventoried and done to be ready for the next event. Four hundred happy faces were fed this year; the entire dinner is furnished and cooked by the Kiwanians with financial help from some very generous donors who they are forever grateful for.
They cook and carve 30 turkeys starting at 5 a.m. on Wednesday. They spend a good day at home before the cooking to cut up celery and onions to stuff in the turkeys for flavor and cook bacon for the green beans. The sweet potatoes are made during the turkey cooking; dressing, beans and mashed potatoes are made early Thursday morning.
Miller stated, “this is such a fun and rewarding event but it’s definitely a lot of work to prepare and having 400+ Valley folks come to chow down is amazing. The smiles make it SO worth it! We also honor our fallen heroes every event that we have.”
Miller said that about 75 volunteers give of their time to come help, and they come from all over the Valley. “Kent Wilson from The Lazy Bear Cabins even donates special homemade gravy!”
The clothes drive is always a success with new and used baby, kids and adult clothes donated for needy families.
In addition, from the kind and generous donations at the door and also from the many Valley businesses, Kiwanis holds five days of Christmas parties for kids in South Fork, Del Norte and Center. Last year almost 400 children got to sit on Santa’s lap, get an adorable stuffed toy or a dictionary (4th graders) and have cookies and ice cream. This year will be no exception.
From the donations left over from the Christmas parties, several Valley food banks are presented with a check. What’s left after that 75 to 100 hygiene bags are made for migrant workers that come into the Valley with only the clothes on their backs. Non-perishable food items are given to churches/food banks for distribution to needy families.
Every bit of money received from this dinner goes completely back out to the community in some form whether it be material or financial support.
Miller said, “We hardly have words to express our thanks to the Valley individuals and businesses who generously donate to this dinner. We thank all the volunteers that take time out of their day to help. And we give thanks to the Valley community for spending a few hours with us. This is what Thanksgiving is all about. We start out with 400 strangers and leave the dinner with 400 new friends! We are ready for next year! Well. . . maybe after a little break!” Anybody is welcome to come help; to sign up for next year or for any information on the Kiwanis Club of South Fork, please call Karen at 719-873-5466. They will always welcome new members!