Havre Daily News
On Thanksgiving Day, 48 turkeys, along with a full spread of dressing, potatoes, cranberries, rolls and pumpkin pie, will await hundreds of people at St. Jude's Parish Center.
Everyone is invited to the free feast, which is made possible by an anonymous donor. It's a chance for residents to loosen their belts, socialize and enjoy good spirits and entertainment provided by local musicians.
Preparations for the dinner have already begun, and organizers are looking for more volunteers.
About a dozen people have volunteered so far. Event co-chair Kitty Williams said many more are needed.
“Even if they can only stay a half-hour, it's a help,” Williams said.
In the past, Montana State University-Northern athletes and scores of volunteers have made the dinner possible. Some have returned year after year to lend a hand.
Williams said she and fellow co-chair Olive Watson need help beginning next Wednesday at 1 p.m., when volunteers will meet at the parish center to prepare for the big day. On Thanksgiving, help is needed from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 11 to 2 p.m. Volunteers are also needed for cleanup after the dinner is over, Williams said.
The doors will open to the public at 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and food will be served until 2 p.m.
Food will be delivered in the morning to residents who cannot leave their homes, Williams said. Reservations for deliveries can be made by contacting the North Central Senior Citizens Center at 265-5464 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning Monday. No orders will be taken after next Wednesday.People in line for the dinner cannot ask for take-out meals, Williams said.
Williams took over organizing the event, which served more than 600 people last year, after working in the kitchen for two years. She said the undertaking gives her a sense of satisfaction.
“It makes me feel good to help feed a lot of people,” Williams said.
The dinner would not be possible without the anonymous benefactor and St. Jude's, she said.
“Thank the Lord for them,” she said.
No donations of money or food will be accepted, Williams said. Leftovers are taken to the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen.
Local performers will provide entertainment throughout the dinner, organizer Mavis Filler said.
Filler will sing, accompanied by Dena Tippets on the piano. Kris and Anne Shaw will play violin; the Rev. Brad Ulgenes will play guitar and sing; Korean foreign exchange student and concert pianist Harry Kim will perform; Cathy Lee and family will perform; Sharon Dolph, Ron Belcourt and Lyle Dille will play piano, guitar and drums; and Mary Johnke and Yvonne Secora will sing.
Filler volunteered at the dinner for the first time last year. She said the feast is a great event for both families and individuals.
“There are lots of people that don't have anyone at home or don't want to cook, or they just want to come out and socialize,” she said. “It's a great event. It's a great time to visit with people and be thankful for living in Havre.”
People who want to volunteer can contact Williams at 265-1007 between 6 and 9 p.m. or e-mail her at email@example.com, or call Alan Sorensen at 265-6795, ext. 15, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.