Local residents will have the chance to enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Whitley County High School thanks to the efforts of several volunteers.
“We have four foundational principles we operate by here. The fourth one of those is community investment. It’s important that communities work together. Parents, students, community stakeholders, all those things equal a better place for Whitley Countians,” Whitley County High School Principal Bob Lawson said about the reason for the community dinner.
“We’d love to have everyone out. We look forward to it. We are thankful for our community. It is a great place to live.”
This is the third year for the program. Last year about 1,200 people attended the dinner and the prior year about 700 attended.
Lawson said there has been a misconception by some that the event is just for the needy, which isn’t the case.
“It’s for everyone. We just want a sense of togetherness feel for the dinner. Some folks think it is just for the needy, but that is not just who it is for. It’s for the needy. It’s for everyone. Everyone come out, let’s get together, eat and have a community dinner,” Lawson added.
The community meal is at no cost to taxpayers.
Local elementary schools and other schools conducted a food drive, which collected much of the food used for the community meal.
“All of this is through partnerships in the community. We haven’t had any trouble getting good community support for it,” Lawson noted.
A group of men get together Tuesday night behind the school and cook the turkeys over night.
“It’s fellowship. We really have a lot of fun doing it,” Lawson said.
Another group of volunteers, most of whom are female, come out either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning and cook all the side dishes.
Typically 50 – 100 volunteers participate in either cooking the meal or helping serve it.