Businesses, volunteers serve more than 900 Thanksgiving meals

Prep for the annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner was in full swing Tuesday with turkeys being prepped, homemade yeast rolls were mixed, rolled, and baked, stuffing bread was torn and seasoned and gelatin desserts were being prepared. The annual dinner takes place on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the FMHS Multipurpose Room. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC.


FORT MADISON – More than 900 residents were treated to a hot meal with family and friends on Thanksgiving thanks to the efforts of many local volunteers and the generosity of many local businesses.

This year’s event was held at the Fort Madison High School and featured two days of volunteer prep work and a half day on Thanksgiving of serving and delivering meals.

“It was a great couple of days. The community really came together for this. We couldn’t have done it without all of the donations, the hard work of the committee, as well as all of the amazing volunteers who helped us make this possible,” said Savanna Collier, who helped oversee her first event as the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce Coordinator. “It was a lot of hard work, but well worth it.”

Committee member Gerri Barnett said things are getting to be pretty much routine for the volunteers.

“I think we did very well. We always seem to think we’re going to be short on things, but there were a good number of volunteers,” Barnett said. “We were a bit thin on Wednesday but I think we’ve got that figure out for next year.”

Barnett said there were a few glitches in deliveries and carryouts which is not out of the ordinary, but plans are already being discussed on how to iron out the small wrinkles.

“I was very pleased with those that were there. The volunteers are learning how to ease the congestion and were working well together,” she said,. “It’s a reunion of sorts in the community and this is one of the times you can find people that you normally don’t get to see – all working side by side.”

The event was once again put on with the generous donations of many area businesses including the Pothitakis Law Firm and the Nico Pothitakis Family for their donations of turkeys; the Tri-State Rodeo, the American Legion Post #668 of West Point, DuPont, Pinnacle, Axalta, Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company, Huffman’s Farm & Home, Fort Madison KFC for corn and containers, Chandler’s Restaurant for gelatin, the Fort Madison Knights of Columbus, the Fort Madison Elks Lodge, Fareway Grocery, Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce, Fort Madison Hy-Vee, Edward Jones-Larry Kelch of Fort Madison, Linda Martinez and the Fort Madison High School, the Fort Madison Middle School for artwork and placemats, the Iowa State Penitentiary staff and offenders for help in prep work with potatoes, celery, and onions, Sunnybrook Assisted Living, Matt and Betsy Hayes – Dodd Printing & Stationery, and all the generous pie donations.

This year’s event was coordinated by committee members Dianne Hope, Barnett, Lee Vandenberg, Debi Daughters, Carol Arnold, Dennis McGregor, Bobbi Marshall, Robin Delaney, Craig Wills, Joanne Varley, and Savanna Collier.

Community Thanksgiving Dinner volunteers prep the turkeys and make gelatin on Tuesday night. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC.

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