Coming together as a community

MARSHALL – It’s a celebration centered around fellowship and sharing a meal with loved ones and friends. And on Thursday, there was plenty to go around at the Marshall National Guard Armory, where people were sitting down to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The community dinner made a return to Marshall, after a hiatus in 2012. Community members and volunteers alike said they were thankful to see it come back.

“I missed it last year,” said Howard Huso, who was one of the area residents enjoying the meal Thursday afternoon. “It’s great that they could help put this on.”

“It’s really nice. God has been so good to us,” said Avis Bedow. Avis and her husband Virgil were sharing their Thanksgiving with family visiting from Pipestone. Carol Glidewell said it was great to be able to have someplace to go and celebrate without worrying about doing a lot of cooking.

More than 90 volunteers from Grace Life Church, the Marshall Ministerial Association and the Marshall area community all helped make the meal possible.

“When we couldn’t do it last year, it was really hard for everyone,” said Teri Hively, one of the volunteer organizers of the event.

“It’s been overwhelming,” organizer Cathy Hively said of the response. People were waiting to eat even before serving started at 11 a.m., she said, and volunteers helped deliver about 275 take-out orders. Other volunteers brought Thanksgiving take-out meals to people working on Thursday – something that the Rev. Chad Bergjord said he and his wife tried doing last year.

It takes a lot of preparation to make a meal for hundreds of people. But volunteers on Thursday said things were running pretty smoothly.

“We started planning a long time ago because we wanted to have some garden vegetables,” said Teri Hively. Organizers put up stores of frozen, locally-grown sweet corn and vegetables to accompany the homemade desserts, stuffing and turkey. Hively said workers Thursday were serving up two dozen birds, which came to about 480 pounds of turkey.

Donations from community members and local businesses also played a big part in bringing back the community dinner, said the Rev. Doug Wing, pastor at Grace Life. For example, the turkeys for the meal were donated by Reinhart Foods, he said.

“We’re grateful to be able to offer (Thanksgiving dinner) to the community again,” Wing said.

“We plan on doing it again next year,” Wing said of the community meal.

“I think it shows a great need in the community,” Cathy Hively said of the turnout Thursday. “And the meal is for anybody and everybody.”