Tomah celebrates Mr. Ed’s Community Thanksgiving

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Twenty-eight years ago,  Ed Thompson created a free community Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who needed a meal, wanted company on the holiday, or wanted to give back to the community. The tradition lives on, and Thanksgiving meals were handed out this morning in Tomah.

“We have the full meal from the cranberry sauce down to the pumpkin pie,” said Tina Thompson, Ed’s daughter-in-law and organizer of the event.

Tomah community members have bellies full of Thanksgiving food this evening.

“It’s hard to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for just one or two people so I think it just seems like the easiest option for folks,” said Thompson.

The yearly tradition of Mr. Ed’s Community Thanksgiving is carried out, despite the pandemic.

“Obviously it’s quite a bit different this year, we’re doing everything by delivery or curb side only,” said Thompson.

The community Thanksgiving was created by Thompson’s father-in-law.

“Twenty-nine years ago he found himself broke, he lost his business, he lost his marriage, his kids were no longer living with him, and so he said that no one should have to be alone on Thanksgiving. So we carry this tradition on in his memory,” said Thompson.

Ed’s memory lives on through volunteers. like Mila Kuhn.  She’s been volunteering since the very first community Thanksgiving.

“It’s something you do for the community. You live in the community, so you support the community,” said Kuhn.

“We’ve had a lot of the same volunteers for 28 years, and every year we see new faces, and this year we needed volunteers more than we ever have needed them,” said Thompson.

“My husband usually does the meats, and I’m either gravy or corn,” said Kuhn.

The tradition lives on.

“We will continue to serve until we’re out of food,” said Thompson.

Thank’s to Ed, his meomory, and his Thankful community.

Thompson says this year they had more meals to offer than ever. They had the ability to give out 750 amount of meals, and around noon today, they had already served about 550 of them.