This week during its annual free community Thanksgiving event, the Rotary Club of Dawson County distributed over 600 meals to members of the Dawson County community.
The event took place on Monday Nov. 21 at the senior center at Veterans Memorial Park starting at 5 p.m. It operated as a “drive through dinner”, and according to Rotary Club President Nicole Stewart community members began lining up in their cars up to an hour before it began.
“We got there around 3:30 and asked all of our volunteers to get there by 4 or 4:15 to get ready, and we already had people lining up at 4,” Stewart said. “We started making our meals a little before 5, and by a little after 5 we had already given out most of our meals.”
During the event, large speakers outside the senior center played cheerful Christmas music and Rotarians greeted cars with smiles, waves, colorful signs and exclamations of “Happy Thanksgiving!”.
“We were dancing and having fun and singing to people; we really had a good time,” Stewart said. “It’s my favorite event that we do; we really have a good time.”
The club had planned to give away 600 meals and ended up problem solving near the end of the event to replenish the food and exceed that number. According to Stewart, Ingles was able to sell the club more sides from their cafe in their store, and people in line were all patient and understanding during the short delay.
“Every single one of them was so nice about it; they were awesome,” Stewart said. “No one was ugly about it or anything; they were all very nice.”
One thing that members of the club love, Stewart said, is getting to see some of the same people they served last year and getting to serve the community.
“We’ve gotten to know and meet people in the community that we might not see otherwise; it’s really neat to see people that we recognize from last year,” Stewart said. "It’s a really great team building event for us where we all get to hang out, do something fun and help the community.”
In the end, the goal of the event is to provide community members with friendly faces, a hot meal and a little holiday cheer, Stewart said.
“We have some people who need the food, or some people who are by themselves for Thanksgiving and now they can have a meal — we always put little flyers and cards in there for them too,” Stewart said. “Everybody was so nice and thankful and super sweet — and a lot of people have messaged us on Facebook and said that it was good and they appreciated it.”
She added a special thanks to all of the event’s sponsors, Service Projects Chair Randy Wells and President-Elect Mike Liberatore for their hard work helping organize and plan the event and all of the Rotarians who came out to volunteer their time and efforts to serve the community.