Local communities host Thanksgiving dinner for all

La Crosse and Onalaska host free community dinners

People across the nation are filling their plates Thursday and enjoying a feast.

In La Crosse, it didn’t matter if you were friends, family or strangers, thousands spent the afternoon together at the La Crosse Center for the 33rd annual La Crosse Community Thanksgiving dinner.

There was turkey, stufffing, mashed patatoes and of course plenty of pie for all.

Organizers said it’s a great way to remember what thanksgiving is truly about.

“We don’t want to charge anybody, we want you to come down and enjoy a community dinner, sit with your family, sit with other families, enjoy yourself enjoy the entertainment. Just get out of your house for a change, come down (to the La Crosse Center) have a free dinner and enjoy the day,” Volunteer coordinator Mike Wagoner said.

The meal wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteers donating their time today to help out. Especially, for those who couldn’t make it to the dinner. 60 drivers delivered more than 2,200 meals to people who were home bound Thursday.

“A lot of the volunteers came back and said it just warmed their hearts with all the people that were getting these meals and how happy they were to receive them and have someone to talk to on thanksgiving,” volunteer Randi Serres said.

Onalaska had a community thanksgiving as well Thursday at the Onalaska Armory.

It’s put on by the Onalaska Enhancement Foundation.

More than 1,000 people turned out for a free turkey dinner with all the fixings.

There was live entertainment and a place to watch the football games.

It takes a lot of work to put on a meal for 1,000 people, which is why organizers said it’s a dinner that’s put on for the community by the community.

“It takes about 150-170 volunteers for everything from servers to clean up, to parking lot attendants to cooks,” Enhancement Foundation President Tom Brewer said.

“It’s been great, this is a wonderful, amazing, turnout, amazing people, and it just makes me feel very happy to be apart of this community because it is such a wonderful community,” volunteer Katey Fortun said.