The 26th annual Westby “Thanksgiving Day” Community Dinner had plenty of volunteers putting on extra miles, not pounds, dishing up and delivering food to homes from Westby to Coon Valley to Chaseburg.
The Westby Community Dinner is a combined effort of the Westby Lions Club, area churches, service organizations and businesses, along with volunteers who join forces to hold the annual meal. Gary Daines, the event coordinator said the event was manned with plenty of new faces volunteering their time along with the long time volunteers who have turned helping out at the community dinner a family tradition.
There was plenty of fellowship inside where 220 people enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day feast at Our Savior’s Church in Westby. A steady line of volunteers held Styrofoam containers in the serving line for home deliveries, which Daines said is a growing trend. An additional 130 people had a warm meal delivered to their homes. The meal came complete with turkey, potatoes, vegetables, pie and lefse.
As an added bonus this year diners were treated to the symphonic music of Jonathan Anderson on the violin, while his father, Chris providing the background music. The Anderson spend most of their time working in underprivileged countries with “Symphonies of Hope”. The family was back in town visiting family and friends for Thanksgiving and volunteered their musical expertise for the Westby Community Dinner.
This year’s freewill offering raised $2,200 for the Vernon County Food Pantry. The amount of money deposited for the food pantry and the overall number of meals served were both up this year.
“It is a blessed event with plenty of social engaging by everyone in attendance,” Daines said. He added a huge thank-you to everyone involved in keeping the Westby Community Dinner tradition alive and successful.
For every dollar donated to the food pantry, Daines is able to purchase an average of $18 worth of groceries from places like Second Harvest to keep the food pantry stocked. An even more impressive fact though is that Daines is a thrifty shopper and by shopping locally for grocery bargains he can actually make every donated dollar stretch even further purchasing $15 worth of groceries for the food pantry.
“We appreciate every penny we receive,” Daines said.