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Stepping Stone to provide Thanksgiving dinner PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:02

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By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, and millions of Americans will be gathering around a dinner table to enjoy some turkey, treats and talk.

For some, though, the holiday leaves them with nowhere, and in some cases no one, to go to, but Liberal’s Stepping Stone Shelter has a solution.

Thursday, the shelter will again be serving its traditional Thanksgiving meal, and Stepping Stone Director Bambi Fulton in addition to the food, the dinner is a chance for the community to come and see what the shelter is all about.

Fulton said the shelter is also in need of volunteers to help out with the meal.

“We look for volunteers the Wednesday before and the Thursday of Thanksgiving,” she said. “I’ll be doing the cooking this year, so anyone who wants to help is more than welcome to. We take volunteers. Usually, it starts from 9 o’clock in the morning till about 8 o’clock in the evening on Thanksgiving Day. Our Thanksgiving dinner starts at noon that day and goes till 7 that evening.”

The 2016 edition of the Stepping Stone Thanksgiving meal was Fulton’s first as the head of the agency, and she said she thought her first experience was a good.

“I think we had around 50 people last year,” she said. “That stays about the same throughout the years. For me, it was good to see who all comes down to the shelter and who all volunteers. It was a really exciting time for me. I’m even more excited this year.”

In 2016, prior to the meal, Fulton had said she had much to learn, and in planning for the event last year, she said she did educate herself on how to better coordinate the effort to put on the meal.

“I learned how to cook for 50 people,” she said jokingly. “I learned that a lot of times, people have a misconception about Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter, and I’ve learned there’s great people in the community who love to come out and volunteer to give a helping hand at the holiday season. I also learned there’s so many families that really dedicate their holidays to helping someone else, which is amazing to me. I love that.”

With a little experience now behind her, Fulton said this year’s meal will be slightly less chaotic.

“Setting everything up last year was all kind of new to me,” she said. “I think I’m a little more at ease. We’ll be able to have it run a little smoother versus last year when we pulled out the pies and they were still frozen and uncut. This year, we’ll be prepared in that they’ll be thawed and cut.”

This year, Fulton’s family will be joining her at Stepping Stone, and she said they will be spending the entire holiday with residents and walk-ins at the shelter.

“I’m really excited for that, to kind of have a family Thanksgiving here giving back to the community,” she said.

Fulton said everyone is invited to take part in Thursday’s fun at Stepping Stone.

“I would just like to encourage them in taking that step and doing it, just to see what it’s all about, just to take that first step and check out the shelter and see what we do here as far as our residents and the dinners that we create for people in the community also,” she said. 

In addition to the volunteers who help bring the meal to life, Fulton praised the work of her staff in the matter.

“I’m very particular and picky in a lot of things,” she said. “They have a hand in making out the meals. They have a hand in preparation. We have sign-up sheets like no other, and they have to keep track of those. However, when they do see how it comes together and the purpose that they’re fulfilling, it’s very cool to see how they react to that and the heart that they’ve put into it.”

Many of the traditional Thanksgiving favorites will be part of the meal, including turkey, green bean casserole and corn, as well as dinner rolls. Fulton said the cost of the meal is simply a freewill donation.

“We’ll have a basket for that,” she said. “They’re not required to give everything. It’s pretty basic for us. I like to keep things chaotic but simple.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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