Various people affiliated with Whitley County High School and several Whitley County schools are doing their part to help those in Whitley County have a free community Thanksgiving lunch next week.
Local residents will have the chance to enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal Wednesday, Nov. 27, on the day before Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Whitley County High School Cafeteria thanks to the efforts of several volunteers.
“It is a lunch we like to have here just before the Thanksgiving holiday that just celebrates the season and celebrates our community. It is absolutely free. We invite all of our alumni, community partners, students, staff and anyone, who wants to come out and just fellowship over a lunch that Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We would love to have them out,” said Whitley County High School Principal Dr. Bob Lawson.
Various volunteers prepare the meal or parts of it.
“We have a group of guys that cook all the meat the night before. We have a really good time doing that,” Lawson noted. “Our staff brings in desserts. Our FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) program does a lot of the sides. This kind of begins with a food drive across the district that our family resource centers help with to get the sides donated.”
Other community partners also help do the cooking, and the professionals – Whitley County High School cafeteria staff – come in and help piece it all together that morning.
In all, there are usually 40 – 50 volunteers helping out with the program.
“The attendance at the program kind of varies up and down. Last year, I think was our biggest year yet with between 500 and 800 people in and out,” Lawson noted.
“We are excited and hope it is something where the same groups are beginning to come back. It is a really great time. Families are in town. It is a great time for them to come to the old high school and check it out, and hang out for a little bit and see some old classmates or check out the school. It is a lot of fun.”
Lawson noted that he and his staff love the event, and that it is one of his favorite things that the school does.
“It is based on one of our foundational principles to just invest in the community and care about it. Personally it is one of my favorite events. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We have enjoyed it. It is a good time,” he added.
Lawson said there has been a misconception by some in the past 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.