Offenders chip in with community dinner

Submitted article

FORT MADISON – As volunteers from all over Fort Madison start getting ready for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner so are the offenders at Iowa State Penitentiary.

For over five years, the offenders have enjoyed lending a hand to the event. What started out as a small task of peeling 85 pounds of potatoes has blossomed into hundreds of pounds of Thanksgiving goodness.

Community volunteer Dianne Hope and Chamber Coordinator Savanna Collier dropped off over 220 pounds of spuds to peel, cook, and mash, and 50 pounds of onions to chop. In addition, there are 30 pounds of celery to sauté.

A task this size would intimidate some, but the staff and offenders who work in the kitchen look forward to helping with this each year. “It gives everyone a chance to give back” says Rebecca Bowker, prison spokeswoman. “By creating this partnership, between the Community Thanksgiving organizers and Iowa State Penitentiary, everyone wins.”

The Community Thanksgiving is anticipating serving over 950 meals and is being held at the Fort Madison High School from 11 to 2 p.m. For questions concerning the dinner call (319) 561-0535.

Food Service Director Stephanie Hale, Community Volunteer Dianne Hope, and Chamber Coordinator Savanna Collier pose with more than 200 pounds of produce that ISP offenders will be helping prepare for the Fort Madison Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Courtesy photo from ISP.

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