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thirty seventh annual Kearney membership’s Thanksgiving dinner a tasty success

MARY JANE SKALA Hub Employees Author

Thanksgiving weekend used to kick off the vacation buying season with massive gross sales on Black Friday.


KEARNEY — By 1 pm simply two hours after the doorways opened on the four-hour Kearney Space Involved Residents free Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey was gone.

So had been the mashed potatoes, the gravy and rather more. All that was left was a little bit of ham and slices of pumpkin, apple and peach pie.

Thankfully, the road of autos was gone in entrance of Outdated City Corridor, too. At 10:30 am, a half hour earlier than pick-ups started at 11 am, “vehicles had been lined up as clear again, so far as I might see,” John Paul of Kearney, a volunteer directing site visitors on Central Avenue, mentioned.

The occasion was to run until 3 pm, however at 1:30 pm, with meals and site visitors gone, BamBe Currie, co-chair of this thirty seventh annual occasion together with her husband Marc, wrapped it up with one phrase: “phenomenal.” Marc mentioned 1,450 dinners had been given away.

For the second yr, it was a carry-out-or-delivery-only occasion at as a result of lingering considerations about COVID-19.

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Exterior the corridor, on the intersection of Central and East nineteenth Avenue, Paul Mitchell was directing site visitors. A resident of Antelope Valley, Calif., he is house-sitting right here for a month and volunteered as a result of “it is one thing good to do. They’re operating this like a well-oiled machine. I am having a good time,” he mentioned.

In entrance of Outdated City Corridor, Lee Ann Wilson of Kearney wore a “Comfortable Thanksgiving” apron as she greeted the general public. She has volunteered right here for 10 years, first when visiting her dad and mom, and for the final 5 years as a Kearney resident. “I wish to volunteer regardless of the place I dwell,” she mentioned. “I like to offer again.”

That was heard time and again from volunteers of all ages.

Styla Rowe, 10, daughter of Lerrin and Noah Rowe and a pupil at Buffalo Hills Elementary, handed two dinners to Debbie Christians, who had helped with dinner preparations Wednesday. Styla giggled as she was greeted with a slurpy kiss from Christians’ canine Tillie. “I am right here as a result of I identical to serving to make folks glad,” she mentioned.

Different children pitched in, too, like Maci Valenti, 10, a pupil at Bryant Elementary and the daughter of Danielle and Jesse Valenti, and Preston Leininger, 6, are of Alison Leininger. Alison and Preston volunteered final yr, too. “It is going very easily. There are good meeting traces going,” Alison mentioned as she handed 4 luggage of meals to a ready minivan.

Contained in the corridor, Riley Bay and Dan Willis supervised a protracted desk the place volunteers put food-filled styrofoam containers into luggage to be carried out to ready autos. “We’re not beggars. We’re baggers,” Bay mentioned. Bay instructed jokes as he stuffed luggage for volunteers like College of Nebraska at Kearney pupil Jaden Longfellow and his de él father de él Jay. Bay known as the occasion “a really feel good gesture for the group.”

Again within the kitchen, volunteers Rusty Conrad and Melissa Taubenheim had been filling these styrofoam containers. Conrad dipped inexperienced beans. Taubenheim dished out yams. “That is superior,” she mentioned.

Sisters Gabby and Rosario Perez had been within the kitchen. It was Rosario’s “fifth or sixth” time right here, however it was Gabby’s first from her. “I got here for the free espresso,” Gabby mentioned. Then she laughed. “I get pleasure from this type of factor, I am impressed with how everybody takes outing of their vacation to do that.”

Veteran volunteer Linda Hatcher of Gibbon introduced 5 relations to assist as a result of “I needed my grandchildren to see what occurs whenever you get exterior your loved ones.” They’d celebrated Thanksgiving Wednesday together with a household birthday, and at present, your complete clan was right here.

That included Hatcher’s daughter Samantha MacTavish of Gibbon, who was scrubbing pans with daughters Izzabella, 12, and Olivia, 11. Was she having enjoyable? “Sure,” Samantha grinned. “We’re doing this once more subsequent yr.”

At the back of the corridor, 27-year volunteers Susan and Gary Puckett took requires supply each Wednesday and Thursday. Susan estimated that about 500 dinners had been delivered by 1:15 p.m.

The one glitch within the occasion got here Wednesday afternoon, when the Youth Rehabilitation and Therapy Heart out of the blue canceled plans to convey teenagers over to assist arrange. Hasty telephone calls and texts went out, and three members of the Kearney Excessive College soccer group—Braden Treffer, Dane McClary and Krason Rahe—came to visit to assist.

By 1:30 pm, remaining volunteers sat right down to eat what was left, largely ham and pies. One volunteer instructed Currie he’d be again subsequent yr. Ditto Kelli Lepler, who got here from Grand Island. She could not conceal her bubbly enthusiasm for her. “That is what group means. I identical to to offer again,” she mentioned.

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