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Veterans, newcomers pitch in at feast


Havre Daily News/John Kelleher

Berlee Hewitt, 13, takes a break from her volunteer work at the Havre Community Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday to eat pumpkin pie.

Lolly Evans and Carol Birks stood side by side at the annual Havre Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday dishing out turkey to the hundreds of people who came to the annual feast.

Evans made a vow to herself 10 years ago when she retired that she would help out annually at the traditional meal. She's kept her promise and has enjoyed every minute of her work.

Birks just moved to Havre from Arizona. She thought volunteering would be a great way to meet people. She met people from all walks of life — both the volunteers and the diners at Thursday's dinner.

Several hundred people took part in the dinner, made possible by an anonymous donation and the work of many volunteers — ages 8 to 80 — who cooked, prepared, served and delivered the meal.

Birks said it was more fun being at the dinner than staying home and having to cook the meal and clean up afterwards.

"I'll probably stay to clean up," she said, as the clock ticked toward the 2 p. m. closing time. "But it's more fun when you have people here to laugh with you."

"There's just the two of us at home," said Sue Ost, who dished out corn to the guests. "It's a lot more fun being out here seeing everybody."

Mitch Rost also had a small group at home. Most of his family went out of town for the celebration, so he volunteered to do a job at the dinner. He got two jobs.

"I'm a double scooper," he laughed, as he dished out mashed potatoes and dressing.

The morning shift had one person performing each job, "but I discovered the inefficiencies and downsized," he laughed.

The younger volunteers also enjoyed their time at the dinner.

"It makes me feel good to help people," said Jayne Nelson, 10, as she ate pumpkin pie during her break as a server. "I like helping out."

Nancy Veneable said it was more fun to serve pumpkin pie to the visitors than to stay home and cook. She and her son, Erik Thompson, went from table to table offering a slice or two to visitors.

"We'll probably have a small dinner tomorrow," she said.


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