The Edmond Sun

November 20, 2012

OUR VIEW: A thank you for Thanksgiving dinner

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — There is no better example of volunteerism in Edmond than the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Every Thanksgiving day for the past 31 years, an alliance of local churches armed with 600-800 volunteers pull together an eight-course free meal. Last year, organizers and volunteers fed right around 3,000 people.

Bringing this many people together and feeding them a Thanksgiving meal is no small task. It is an amazing feat of organization, but more importantly, it is built from the miracle of giving.

Some of the giving is fairly obvious. A variety of individuals, organizations and groups donate many of the food items, which include 150 turkeys, 75 loaves of bread, 400 pounds of sweet potatoes, 300 pounds of green beans 50 gallons of gravy and more. But much of the giving often goes unnoticed even though it is integral in its own way to pulling off the event.

The University of Central Oklahoma showed its community colors a few years ago when it agreed to open the Nigh University Center on Thanksgiving Day every year for the event to take place. Previously, the dinner was hosted by a different church each year and it was a struggle to find enough space for all those who come to enjoy the food and fellowship. By donating the space, organizers now have a central location to promote and plan for each year. That is a huge help to those involved and we applaud UCO for offering its facility and services for this worthy project.

Another important factor is the use of a refrigerated truck to transport food from the preparation sites to the university. U.S. Food service annually donates the use of one of its trucks to make this happen. A moving van also is loaned for free by an anonymous donor annually to help transport food and supplies.

Baggerley Funeral Home and Citizens Bank of Edmond donated the turkeys for this year’s feast. Cisco gave the organization an incredible break on the price of 250 pounds of ham and Homeland Stores agreed to slice the ham for free.

These are just a handful of examples of how such an important community event comes together. There are many more who have given of their time, resources and talent to make the dinner happen as well as those who donated items.

We are grateful to live in such a caring community where the many are willing to make a holiday tradition merrier for those in need of free food and companionship. Without those volunteers and all those donors, this event would not happen.

The next step will be for organizers to grow the next generation of leaders for this wonderful event. They’ve already publicly said they’re looking for people in their 20s and 30s to step up and help be a part of the future of this annual program. Believe us, this is one of the most worthy local causes where you can donate your time.

And again, we extend a heartfelt thank you to all those who are making it happen for 2012, and especially to Mike and Liz Laska and their family for starting this event in the first place.