By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— The South Fork Kiwanis branch is seeking volunteers to help with the coming Thanksgiving dinner in South Fork. The group has held the dinner every year for several years, depending solely on donations and volunteers from local communities. This year, Kiwanis is getting a head start on planning for the event, hoping to get more help to serve the massive amount of people who come for a free meal during the festive holiday.
Volunteers from all over the Valley are preparing for the annual South Fork Thanksgiving Dinner as the day of the biggest feast in the area draws near. The South Fork Community Center will be filled with tables lined with autumn decorated cloth, center pieces that have been handmade and the nostalgic smells of the holiday season in only a few weeks’ time. The South Fork Kiwanis branch can expect as many as 500 guests on Thanksgiving Day, making this event one of the largest and most difficult events the group plans for throughout the year.
The preparations begin about a week before Thanksgiving Day that falls on Nov. 22 this year, giving the volunteers and Kiwanis group seven days to get ready to serve a full course meal, including dessert to a massive crowd of people. Thirty turkeys are prepared and cooked in the kitchen at the Del Norte elementary school in preparation of the dinner.
The Kiwanis Club of South Fork has been holding an annual dinner for several years. The club also collects donations for many of the area’s charities for Christmas and other programs throughout the year.
The club is always in need of volunteers for the day. The dinner begins on the morning of Thanksgiving and runs until 1 p.m. A winter clothes drive is available throughout the dinner for those wishing to donate lightly used winter clothes for both adults and children. Clean jackets and warm winter clothes in fair condition are welcome. Any donations made to the winter clothes drive go to families in need in and around South Fork as well as Del Norte. Kiwanis also accepts non-perishable food items during the Thanksgiving festivities.
Funds donated to the Kiwanis club also go on to help hold special Christmas parties for children ages kindergarten to fourth grade in Del Norte and Center schools. The parties are spread out over four days in the middle of December. Each child is given a gift that is presented to them good old St. Nick. Donations purchase close to 400 gifts for area children. Food, games and special prizes are also purchased for the parties. The fourth-grade classes receive dictionaries purchased with donations to Kiwanis.
The remaining funds not used for the Christmas parties are used for other programs in the Valley. Donations from Kiwanis are given to food banks and to make food baskets for families in need in South Fork. Also, a migrant worker program receives funds left over for the following year’s workers. The migrant worker program helps place workers in homes and provides them with food services for the time they are working in the Valley. It’s a widely utilized program that has helped families for several years locally.
The dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 22. For more information or to volunteer contact Karen Miller at 873-5466.