The La Crosse community Thanksgiving dinner *is* on, after organizers cancelled it last month thinking there wouldn’t be enough volunteers and resources to hold it this year. Fox 25/48’s Erin O’Brien explains how this Thanksgiving dinner will be different.
It’s back and better than ever.
When organizers cancelled the community Thanksgiving dinner last month, over 130 people reached out to say they would help bring it back. Three days later, dozens of volunteers gathered to get to work.
“I was devastated. I thought, “oh my gosh it took me this long to volunteer to do it and now it’s not going to happen, it’s got to happen. What can we do? What can we do?'”
“And when we did find out that it was canceled, it wasn’t because of the volunteers the day of the event. There’s more than enough of that. What it actually was the planning of it.”
This year’s community Thanksgiving dinner is being brought into the 21st century with a new website. People can sign up to volunteer and donate to the dinner through PayPal. And people who may not be able to make it to the La Crosse Center can sign up for travel arrangements or to have dinner brought to them.
About 300 people came to the first community dinner 34 years ago. This year, three to four thousand people are expected to come to the dinner at the La Crosse Center.
“Everyone is invited to enjoy a free dinner that day. The goal is to let the community come together and get to know one another.”
“The community itself is a very giving and very close community in the aspect of caring for other people, taking care of other people who may not be as fortunate. It’s an area that everybody can celebrate that closeness.”
It takes over six hundred volunteers in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and it costs about 25,000 dollars each year to maintain what has become a La Crosse tradition.
“Many families have volunteered year after year. Some of the families have grown up with the dinner so it’s become I think an integral part of the community especially during Thanksgiving. Once you’ve attended one of these dinners you’ll find how uplifting and wonderful it is.”
You can check out the new website at La Crosse Thanksgiving Dinner dot com.