By Nicole Brodzik
While Thanksgiving is intended to be a day of spending time with loved ones and appreciating a good meal, some don’t have that luxury.
The Mound American Legion and Westonka Food Shelf are teaming up to offer a free Thanksgiving dinner for veterans, those who can’t afford to cook for themselves and residents who just need someone to eat with.
“We were holding an omelette breakfast for the food shelf and we started talking about having a dinner and it all just made sense,” Commander of Sons of the American Legion Colby Sherman said. “We’ve been wanting to do this for years.”
The organizations started planning the event early in 2016 after Westonka Food Shelf Director Shelly Sir mentioned the food shelf’s desire to hold that Thanksgiving meal.
The inaugural event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at American Legion Post 398, located at 2333 Wilshire Blvd. in Mound. Volunteer Michelle Repp said while they are asking people to call ahead to make reservations, all are welcome.
“There will be plenty of food for everyone,” she said. “We want to make sure no one is eating along on Thanksgiving and that everyone can celebrate.”
Repp said they expect to see around 150 people this year, but hope the event grows to larger numbers in the future.
“I’m sure we’ll have around 100, 150 people the first time,” Sherman said. “We want this to be a real community event. Yes, we want to help get people a meal who can’t afford it, but we also want to bring the community together and get as many people here as we can.”
The meal will be a “traditional Thanksgiving dinner”, including turkey, side dishes, dessert and coffee. The food, cooking and serving time has been donated by numerous community businesses and organizations.
“It’s always so wonderful to see the community come together,” Repp said. “We expect that as word spreads, this event will grow.”