Topeka Thanksgiving tradition returns after scaling back last year due to COVID

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Thanksgiving is more than a day off. For many, it’s a time to give thanks, and give back to the community. On Thursday, a Topeka tradition brought people together for just that.

Hundreds of volunteers have been working hard to bring back the Community Thanksgiving Dinner after having to scale way down last year due to COVID concerns.

In 2020, they had to make the switch to delivering frozen dinners. No hot delivered meals and no gathering around a tale like previous years, but the dinner is back to hot meals now.

“We’re really happy the community came back together this year, after the weird year last year not really asking for volunteers and having to make adjustments for COVID,” President of Community Thanksgiving Dinner Foundation David Braun said. “We had concerns that maybe people had moved on to something else for Thanksgiving. It really shows this year the overwhelming support that we’ve had.”

To pull that off, more than 400 volunteers have worked through the entire week. It’s a lot of work, but the president says the holiday meal is a big need in the community.

“A lot of organizations get meals to them every other day of the year, and its just nice to be able to take that load off those organizations for one day and get them a hot warm meal. And for them to know the community supports them, and that’s why the meal came together,” Braun said.

The dinner wouldn’t be possible without help from other groups in the community, like the Reser’s refrigerator truck, or Stormont Vail letting the Thanksgiving Dinner Foundation use AG Hall and, of course, the many people who volunteer their time or donate to the organization.

A total of $15,000 (fifteen thousand) was raised by the Community Thanksgiving Group for this year’s meal.


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