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Citizens invited to Community Harvest in Oak Harbor
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to ensure thousands of people enjoy a Thanksgiving feast next week.
The North Whidbey Community Harvest celebration, in which everybody is invited, takes place Thanksgiving day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 22 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge.
Jack Stiltz, one of the organizers for the Community Harvest, said 170 turkeys and 500 to 600 pounds of ham are needed to serve the crowd of people who show up Thanksgiving day.
“I always get enough food for more than 4,000 people,” Stiltz, who is owner of Bay Printing, said.
In addition to the thousands of people served at the Elks Lodge, a team of volunteer deliver meals throughout the area to people who aren’t able to attend, but need a festive meal anyway.
Those are people who are home bound, working at stores or are emergency personnel manning police stations, fire departments and hospitals.
“We try to feed everybody who has to work or can’t get out of their home,” Stiltz said. He estimated volunteers made approximately 400 deliveries during the 2011 Community Harvest.
“Once again, Scott Fraser returns as our Executive Chef with some of his staff and a core of culinary arts students from Oak Harbor High School to run the kitchen,” volunteer coordinator K.C. Pohtilla said in a news release. “The Oak Harbor Elks provide us with their facility, the Whidbey Cruzers and other volunteers pitch in to deliver meals, the Oak Harbor Fire Department helps with the clean up and last year we had more than 300 volunteers from the community throughout the day to help with set up, serving, carving turkeys, greeting the guests, setting tables and a host of other duties.”
This annual celebration is made possible because of the volunteers who perform the many duties throughout the day and the generosity of the individuals and businesses that provide monetary donations, according to a news release.
As Oak Harbor’s Community Harvest grows and the cost of supplies increases each year so do the monetary needs.
This year the projected budget could exceed $17,000, Pohtilla said.
Donations will be taken at the door the day of the event. Checks can also be mailed to North Whidbey Community Harvest, Bay Printing, 1131 Ely St., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Checks should be made out to “Community Harvest,” which is a nonprofit organization.
The event also needs hundreds of volunteers to set up, serve food and clean up in order for it to be a success. People interested in volunteering Thursday should call the 240-1433 or they can check in on Thanksgiving.
Stiltz said volunteers are especially needed to clean up following dinner. Firefighters from the Oak Harbor Fire Department traditionally chip in to help clean up, but more help is always appreciated.
To request to have a meal or meals delivered, either call 360-240-1433 and leave a message or on Thanksgiving Day call the Elks Lodge at 360-675-1321 and speak with the delivery coordinator or his staff.