Thanksgiving To Be Served At 40th Annual Bemidji Community Meal
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Bemidji Community Holiday Meal, which provides a Thanksgiving dinner to anyone in the community where you can receive a free meal and enjoy conversation with others.
“We do this to have a place for everybody to come, they’re not home alone, for people that are shut-ins, and it’s just a good time for them to get together and not be lonesome on a holiday,” said Kathy Luepke, Bemidji Community Meals Chairman. “The community pulls together, we have like 72 volunteers that help out, it’s certainly not a one-man show. A lot of people come together to get it to be successful.”
About 25 people helped with the set-up for the dinner and prepared over 300 take-out meals, which will be delivered to families who can’t physically attend.
“A lot of people in the area that are shut-ins and senior housing and in the winter or in the cold now with the bad weather, they can’t get out or they’re unable to drive, and so we want them to have a holiday and a meal and we deliver like 26 meals to one senior housing in town, and it’s just so they can have a meal and get together if they are able,” said Luepke.
Several community members volunteered their time to assist with the delivery of meals to families, and as of right now they plan to deliver 252 meals. Each driver will start the deliveries around 11 AM and are expected to be done by noon.
“Our volunteers are just amazing, we’ve had so many calls that came in that wanted to deliver and I actually had to turn a few away because we had a wonderful response, and these people take time out of their nice Thanksgiving day and make sure that the people who are home-bound have a Thanksgiving,” said Karen Oftelie, who assisted with meal deliveries.
The dinner is funded through fundraisers and donations from individuals and organizations, which helped with the purchase of the food. The dinner will include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and dessert that makes it a full Thanksgiving meal.
“I just want to thank the people that did donate so we were able to put the meals on and please continue to do that, because it is a important event in the community,” said Luepke.
The dinner will be served from 12:00 to 1:30 PM at Evangelical Free Church in Bemidji, and everybody is welcome.