News

Oak Harbor businesses produce holiday meal

Pot Belly Deli manager Carol Crale takes a phone order while owner Keith Bartlett, at right, and cook Jordan Osorio begin preparations for the First Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Oak Harbor’s Elk’s Lodge on Nov. 22. The free feast is from1 pm until 6 pm. - Ken George
Pot Belly Deli manager Carol Crale takes a phone order while owner Keith Bartlett, at right, and cook Jordan Osorio begin preparations for the First Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Oak Harbor’s Elk’s Lodge on Nov. 22. The free feast is from1 pm until 6 pm.
— image credit: Ken George

Joining together on a mission of community service and an extension of a helping hand, Oak Harbor businesses and civic groups hope to make Thanksgiving a little brighter for Oak Harbor’s needy and lonely.

Spearheaded by one Oak Harbor restaurateur, the host of donors and volunteers will be putting on a Thanksgiving feast, called Harvest Celebration. The groups of volunteers will provide a free holiday meal in a warm, inviting environment, and will even provide transportation to and from the Elks Club. Donations will be accepted from those wishing to pay.

Harvest Celebration will take place in the main lodge at the Elks Club at 155 NE Ernst St. from 1 to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Oak Harbor restaurants are providing the food for free, the Elks Club is providing the lodge for free, and 40 members of the Whidbey Cruzers, the classic car club, are providing free transportation.

Keith and Judy Bartlett, owners of the Pot Belly Deli in Oak Harbor, thought of the idea to provide a Thanksgiving dinner to people in need as well as those that might not have a place to go or people to be with on the holiday, such as the aged and the spouses of deployed military personnel.

Keith Bartlett rallied the support of other Oak Whidbey Island businesses, the Elks and the Whidbey Cruzers, and a host of individual volunteers to cook, serve and clean.

“I’ve got enough food for 2,000 people,” Bartlett said. The hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. were originally scheduled for the dinner, but Bartlett said those will be extended in order to accommodate 2,000 people.

And, the Elks Club is giving the use of the lodge, which has a rental value of $1,000.

“It’s our community service that we like to do,” said Lisa Price, manager of the Elks Lodge. Giving to the community is the primary mission of the Club, Price said.

“They’re a non-profit charitable organization,” Price said. The Elks donate money to Childrens Hospital and Childrens Therapy Program. All group donations come from the membership dues.

The Whidbey Cruzers probably will not be driving their classic automobiles Thanksgiving Day, said Lyla Lillis, a representative of the group. Unpredictable weather and road conditions, as well as it being difficult to get into some of the vehicles, will probably prohibit the use of the classic cars.

However, 40 members of the Cruzers have already signed up to use their personal vehicles to provide transportation to the dinner guests. Transportation, like the meal, is available to anyone.

Those wishing to request transportation to dinner should call the Elks Lodge at 675-7111. Others with their own transportation should just show up between 1 and 6 p.m.

Meals will also be delivered to those unable to leave their homes. Call the Elk’s Lodge for delivery, 675-7111.

You can reach News-Times reporter Christine Smith at csmith@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611

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