A community effort

Ivanhoe’s community Thanksgiving dinner benefits the area food shelf and provides opportunities to volunteer

Photo by Jenny Kirk Delores Kudrna, Sandy Olson and others go through the serving line during the community Thanksgiving dinner Saturday at the VFW in Ivanhoe. Volunteering in the serving line are: Dawn Popowski, Jo Downing, Dan Markell, Barb Christion, Merlin Downing and Matt Landrus.

IVANHOE — It was a time for sharing during the community Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday at the VFW Club in Ivanhoe.

Walking in the door, people shared the non-perishable items they brought with for the local food shelf. Many shared their time, working as a volunteer in some way or another. Others shared in fellowship. All shared a delicious turkey dinner together with all the fixings.

“It’s really a community affair,” organizer Beverly Wilson said.

Wilson said the event is a good annual food drive for the Hendricks-Ivanhoe-Arco Area Food Shelf, which along with the Ivanhoe Greenleaf 4-H Club, Red Pine Wind Project and a few other organizations, sponsored the community meal.

“We fill our pantry pretty good after this,” Wilson said. “People bring non-perishables in because we don’t charge a fee. We could not do this, of course, without those Greenleaf 4-H families. They’re just awesome. And what’s really nice is when you look out there and see people visiting and talking. I haven’t heard any complaints.”

As people showed up, the volunteers gradually shifted into the necessary roles — servers, kitchen staff, clean-up crew, carriers, delivery personnel, greeters, sorters and so on.

“Everyone just gets in their groove,” Greenleaf 4-H parent Lynn Rost said. “It’s been steady with people coming in the whole time.”

Another Lincoln County 4-H Club — Marble Alta Vista — also volunteered to help out this year.

“This is my first year helping out with this food drive,” Canby 4-H’er Coltyn Drietz said. “Turnouts are good today it looks like. People bring in canned goods and then they get to go and eat a turkey dinner.”

Drietz said he was glad he was able to volunteer.

“It’s important because it helps the community a lot,” he said. “It feels good to help out.”

Along with Drietz, Greenleaf 4-H club member Jeren Rost spent a good portion of the time receiving and sorting the food shelf items that were donated.

“We’ve been taking all the canned food brought in from the community and organizing it into what they are and stuff,” Rost said. “Then we’ll bring the food items down to the food shelf across the street.”

Rost, who lives in Ivanhoe and attends Minneota High School, said she’s been helping out at the community Thanksgiving dinner for about five or six year.

“I like it,” she said. “It’s fun seeing everybody from the community I don’t see very often.”

Wilson said it was amazing how sponsors and volunteers were able to collaborate to offer the Thanksgiving meal for northern Lincoln County residents.

“This is the first time that Red Pine Wind Project has helped sponsor this,” Wilson said. “We also had the Catholic Aid Financial come (Saturday) and help us out. They gave us an awesome check also for the food shelf.”

Wilson added that someone from Larson’s Foods anonymously donated vegetables. Ten individuals also volunteered to cook a turkey this year.

“Those turkeys were 20 pounds, so there’s 200 pounds of turkey here (Saturday),” she said. “We also made four roasters of stuffing. And this is a sausage stuffing, so it’s got a little pork sausage in it. It’s pretty moist.”

Wilson credited Muriel Koopman, Twila Koopman and Maria Frensko as being instrumental in getting the pre-Thanksgiving event started.

“Actually, they started the food shelf 25 years ago,” Wilson said. “Then about eight years later, they added the Thanksgiving dinner. In December, we also do a children’s Christmas toy give away for the Lincoln County children. Again, everybody just pooled together to get it going.”

While some volunteers helped fill takeout orders, Jeremy Rost was one of the volunteers who helped take care of deliveries for people who were elderly or shut in.

“It’s been going good,” Rost said. “We’ve got 27 deliveries, so three to go and then we’re done. We do country deliveries, up to five or six miles out of town.”

Rost said he and his wife (Lynn) have volunteered for a handful of years.

“We’ve helped since the kids have been in 4-H,” he said. “I like helping out the community. It’s a good meal and it brings a lot of food in for the food shelf.”