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Community enjoys Thanksgiving at annual dinner
Thanksgiving dinner 1
Rotarians serve Thanksgiving dishes for community members at the annual Community Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 25 - photo by Jessica Taylor

After a full day in the kitchen, local Rotarians came together to host the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday night.

“We started at 8:30,” said Christie Moore, public relations chair of the Rotary Club of Dawson County. “We cooked everything except the turkey… the ham we bought was already cooked. Everything else was cooked by Rotarians at the College and Career Academy.”

The Rotary Club of Dawson County hosts the annual community dinner as a way to give back to the people of Dawson County. After the event gained immense popularity last year, with Rotarians serving more than 450 plates of traditional Thanksgiving trimmings, organizers prepared for a big crowd for the Nov. 25 event.

“The years before, it had always been about 100 people showed up so when last year so many people showed up we were a little caught off guard but very happy,” said Nicole Stewart who organized the event along with Moore. “We made sure we were very prepared for everyone that wanted to come this year.”

Rotary members prepared to serve more than 500 plates of food this year and spent hours in the industrial kitchen at the College and Career Academy preparing mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and casseroles and slicing up apple, pecan and pumpkin pies.

“It just makes you feel good,” said longtime Rotarian Jim King as he worked the dessert station.

King has volunteered at the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner for 10 years and enjoys “being able to serve people” and bring people together of all walks of life.

It’s a favorite event for many Rotarians, including Stewart, who looks forward to bringing the community together year after year.

“We love doing it. We love giving back to the community,” Stewart said. “It’s good to have everyone in the community to come out and interact.”

“I think it’s one of those things that brings together all aspects of the community no matter whether they have lots of money or very little money, it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the community,” said Rotary Club President Jeanne Tompkins. There’s a mixture of professionals with the seniors and other people that are alone… I’ve seen several of my church members come through and stuff like that. It really helps, and that’s what I love about it the most is it’s the broad spectrum of Dawson County.”

By the end of the night, over 400 plates and to-go boxes were filled by more than 65 volunteers, leaving some ham, turkey, dressing and sweet potato casserole left over that was donated to Meals by Grace, Moore said.

“Tonight was the type of night that reminds you what is so great about living in a small town. People from all across our community came together to make sure this Thanksgiving Dinner happened,” Moore said. “Our Rotary Club is honored to host the dinner and we are grateful for everyone who volunteered their time and to all who attended. We love being part of this community and look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”