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A group effort

Volunteers help out at Ivanhoe’s annual community Thanksgiving meal

Photo by Mike Lamb Nolan Citterman, 5, served green beans in the food line during the community Thanksgiving dinner inside the Ivanhoe VFW Saturday as his great- grandmother, Joyce Citterman, left, and his mother, Emily Citterman watch.

IVANHOE — Beverly Wilson had just finished carrying pots of mashed potatoes and gravy to the food line when she took a moment to get a critique on the food being served for the annual community Thanksgiving dinner inside the Ivanhoe VFW Saturday.

“How’s the mashed potatoes?” she asked Twila Koopman, who was sitting next to her husband Elmer. They had just finished eating.

“Very good, the best,” Twila Koopman answered.

“Great,” her husband said.

As lead volunteer for the food shelf event, that’s the answer Wilson was looking for. Twila Koopman is a past volunteer for the dinner.

“We have been doing this for 25 years. It’s always good. I’m retired now,” she said.

The Koopmans were part of a large turnout for the free dinner that was held between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We usually have 300 to 400 people. We had a blizzard one time (2016) and we had 266,” she said.

According to Wilson, more than 50 people volunteered for Saturday’s dinner. More than 10 were from the food shelf that serves Ivanhoe, Hendricks and Arco. As part of their community project, about 40 Greenleaf 4-H club members helped out serving desserts, picking up empty paper plates, collecting food items for the food shelf and other duties.

Catholic United Financial also helped out financially and helping with serving the food. Volunteers also delivered meals to senior citizens and other people in the Ivanhoe, Hendricks and Arco communities who were unable to attend the dinner.

“We have an awesome team from the food shelf. They are all volunteers. This is also our food drive for the food shelf. When people come in, they bring us food items for the food shelf and this is how we fill our pantry at this time of the year,” Wilson said.

“We made our four roasters of sausage dressing yesterday. And then we roasted 11 24-pound turkeys and the 4-H brings us 20 pans of desserts and about 12 double-batched recipe bowls of salads. We could not do this without the 4-H doing this as their community project,” Wilson said.

“We have an awesome community,” she said.

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