Time to gather Thanksgiving volunteers, donations

Editor,

It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed and it’s again time to prepare for this year’s North Whidbey Community Harvest Celebration. This year marks our 17th year since Keith Bartlett and Jack Stiltz started this tradition of providing a free hot Thanksgiving dinner to the community at the Elks Lodge.

All are welcome, and our primary goal is to ensure that all who join us have a wonderful experience and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

This day is truly a community event, intended to bring our citizens together for a day of sharing and caring. These meals are always provided to all at no charge through the hard work and dedication of an all-volunteer staff and the generosity of local individuals, businesses and organizations. Donations are accepted but are not required in order to join us for our celebration.

As Keith put it, “We don’t care if you drive up in a Rolls Royce or walk in, all are welcome to join us.”

Once again, Executive Chef Scott Fraser of Frasers Gourmet Hideaway returns to direct preparation of a menu that includes all of the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings — hors d’oeuvres, turkey and ham, hot vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, salads, desserts and drinks.

We have more than 400 volunteer positions to help with set up, serving, carving turkeys, greeting guests, setting tables and many other duties.

The Oak Harbor Elks share their facility, the Oak Harbor Fire Department helps with the clean up and we have wonderful support from the community volunteering to perform the many tasks involved with putting on an event like this.

The Thanksgiving meal is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23. If you’re not able to join us because you, a family member or friend is elderly, ill, working or just cannot get out, we will deliver a meal or meals to you. Call our dinner request and volunteer line at 360 240-1887. Leave your name, telephone number and a brief message and someone will return your call.

This line is also for those interested in volunteering to help with the many duties throughout the day. Please do not call the Elks Lodge to request a meal or to volunteer.

Since its inception in 2001, this wonderful celebration has grown in both participation and support.

As we make preparations for this year’s event, we anticipate our cost to continue to increase, and so does our need to meet the event’s projected budget of $22,000.

If you would like to make a donation, there will be a donation jar inside the Elks dining room that day, you may drop a donation off with Scott Fraser at Frasers Gourmet Hideaway, or you may send a donation to the address listed below. Make checks payable to NWCH. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation so donations are tax deductible.

Contributions may be sent to or dropped off at: North Whidbey Community Harvest, c/o Skip Pohtilla, 1090 S.E. Hathaway St., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Phone is 360-675-0880

This year our greatest needs are: donations; volunteers especially for all shifts, delivery drivers and break down/clean up; and information regarding anyone who desires or needs to have a meal or meals delivered.

William A. “Skip” Pohtilla, president

North Whidbey Community Harvest

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