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Local volunteers, donors make it possible for hundreds to enjoy Thanksgiving meal

DAVID TEMPLETONDozens of volunteers and donors have joined forces again this year to prepare and serve a hearty Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov. 26.
The meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the fellowship hall of First Christian Church of Carmi; volunteers will also fan out across Carmi, and even Crossville and Grayville, to deliver meals to those who cannot attend.
There is no charge, but donations are welcome.
David Templeton, one of the volunteers who have made this possible for the past eight years, was the guest speaker at Thursday’s weekly luncheon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Carmi, held at the Farm Bureau Building.
Templeton noted that the group first coalesced in 2007 and served 320 people that first year. Through the years participation has varied (374 meals were served in 2014). Expenses annually total more than $1,000, but thanks to contributions from various individuals, businesses and churches (one congregation has given $250 annually for the past five years), those expenses have been covered.
Letters have gone out to local churches, asking them to inform their members of the offer of a free Thanksgiving meal—and inviting parishioners to help prepare and deliver the food, as well. Flyers were distributed this week with details of the program.
While there is no charge, those planning to eat at the church or requesting delivery of meals or a ride to the church are asked to make reservations no later than Tuesday, Nov. 24 by calling 382-8082, said Templeton.
The speaker noted that a Crossville group headed by Steve Griswold and the Grayville Churchmen have also participated in distributing meals in their communities.
Templeton said the Carmi Lions Club (of which he is a member) allows the group to use its smoker to prepare the turkeys; they expect to cook about 400 pounds this year, up from 360 in past years. Generally, he added, 40 to 50 volunteers show up at the church at mid-morning to get the food ready for distribution.
The speaker paid tribute to John Williams of Little Giant, whom he described as a “co-instigator” of the annual feast, and the grocery store, which donates some of the food. And while many other people help and have helped, he had special praise for his father, Roscoe Templeton, and brother, Dannie Templeton, who do much of the “leg work” that make the event happen.
“It’s not a huge time commitment,” he said of the work schedule on Thanksgiving morning. “Come, eat, help and then enjoy the rest of the day. Hope to see you there.”
The program followed a meal prepared and served by Yesterday’s.
In club business, President Alan Saunders said the Kiwanis board will meet at noon Wednesday at the Webb-Hay House. Members were invited to sign a sympathy card for ailing Kiwanian Phil Stocke, and Saunders noted that cards are available for distribution among members on occasions when encouragement, sympathy or congratulations are in order.
Kiwanian Amy McCarty announced that University of Illinois Extension will offer Master Gardener training from January through April, with sessions tentatively scheduled for each Tuesday. Classes will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and anyone interested may apply through Dec. 1. One may contact Bronwyn Aly at 382-2662 for more information.
Hanan Issawi won the weekly 50-50 drawing, splitting a jackpot of $20 with the club.
Kara Kessler of First Bank’s Giving Tree will share next week’s program with Jason Carter and Jonathan Lucas of the Carmi Police Department, who will discuss the annual FOP Shop with a Cop.
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