Feeding an Entire Community
By: Arnold Wyrick
HERRIN, IL --If you think preparing Thanksgiving Day dinner for ten, twelve, or even twenty people is a lot of work, imagine what it takes to feed a thousand people. That's exactly what Bart Mann and his team of volunteers have been doing the past 3 days.
"It's a lot of work a few days before Thanksgiving. It's a whole lot of work on Thanksgiving Day. But come 2 o'clock when everything is done, and we're putting things away there's a great deal of satisfaction, " Mann said as he turned and began slicing more turkeys.
The holiday tradition began back when former Mayor Ed Quaglia decided to do something with Herrin's new civic center in 1988.
"So he organized a Thanksgiving dinner where anybody could come sit with their friends, have a good meal, and just enjoy the day," Mann said.
And every since then except for 1999, and 2000 a team of volunteers from throughout the Herrin community give their time and talents to preparing the big meal.
"Well I just like to be sociable to people. I like to do anything and everything I can for them," says Laverne Profitt of Herrin.
And he's not alone in that giving spirit, it inspired Sue Vaughn to join the team of volunteers this year.
"I'm just not too busy to come help. So I'll help these people and maybe help somebody have a nice meal that wouldn't have had it otherwise," Vaughn said as she sliced away on the turkey in front of her.
The crew will de bone and slice out more than 50 turkeys to feed an entire community. Along with cooking hundreds of pounds of potatoes, and green beans. But each one of the volunteers says what ever it takes, it's worth it just to be a part of giving back to their community.
"My daughter and I were talking and she said we need to start a family tradition. So seeing that my husband is overseas working, I just thought this is our chance to remember that we really do have a lot to be thankful for. So from now on we're putting off our Thanksgiving until Friday, in order to help here in the kitchen,' says Julie Nelson of Herrin.