Community Thanksgiving cancelled


Remainder of holiday activities in around Fort Madison still on for now


FORT MADISON - Due to concerns with rising coronavirus numbers curbing the number of volunteers, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner Committee has decided to cancel this year's event.

"I feel so bad for all the people. That's over 900 meals to people who need it," said Fort Madison Chamber Coordinator Savanna Collier.

Collier said the committee struggled with the decision and finally decided to cancel the event Monday night.

In a message to Chamber members on the groups online Out and About weekly email blast, Collier said people should safely check on their neighbors and friends over the holidays.

"Many people are alone over the holidays anyway, but adding the extra isolation that this pandemic has brought upon us is very hard. Our community is great at stepping up when needed, I've seen it first hand, and the time is now," Collier wrote.

Governor Reynolds issued a new proclamation on Monday pleading with Iowans to avoid group settings over the holidays and issued a quasi-face covering mandate when self-distancing isn't possible.

Reynolds also limited indoor groups to 15 which would make final meal preparation at the Eagles Club difficult. She limited outdoor groupings to 30.

Collier said all the rest of the holiday plans including the Parade of Lights on Nov. 27 are still a go.

"We've had a few floats pull out because they didn't want to be exposed to large groups of people, but we're still moving ahead. If more floats pull out we may have to just go to lighting in the park," she said.

"We're gonna put it out there that people need to social distance but the parade route is fairly long so there is room to spread out. Wear a mask," Collier said.

The Enchanted Forest, which is being held this year behind Aldis, is still on as Collier said she can control the flow of people through the display. Mistletoe on Main is still on as planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November 28.

The committee has made calls to all those who had reserved Thanksgiving dinner deliveries and informed them of the cancellation. Collier said more than 500 pounds of turkey had already been purchased with some of the donations and those were donated to area churches and the Fort Madison Food Pantry.

The Food Pantry also received a donation of close to 2,000 pounds of food, equal to about $3,200 of groceries from OCI Iowa Fertilizer Co. So the Pantry has supplies for those in need over the holiday.

Collier said the group is committed to doing the event next year.

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