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Preparations begin for annual feast

By GAYLE WEBER

gweber@dailynews.net

Getting volunteers never has been a problem when it comes to Ellis County Ministerial Alliance's annual Thanksgiving Day Feast, according to Pastor Kyle Ermoian of Celebration Community Church who helps coordinate the event.

But year after year, 150 volunteers are needed to make the Thanksgiving Day dinner a success for individuals and families in the area that might not have anywhere else to go for the day.

The Thanksgiving Feast, with food provided by Pam's Bakery Shop and Catering, will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the National Guard Armory, 200 Main. The Access van will be available for individuals who need a ride to the Armory, and meals can be delivered to individuals at home.

The dinner served approximately 400 people last year, including volunteers who are needed to greet and serve guests Thanksgiving Day. Approximately 50 volunteers are needed for the tasks.

Another 25 are needed to bag groceries at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21, and 25 more are needed to set up the Armory and decorate tables at 6 p.m. Nov. 21.

"On Wednesday evening, they can fill the grocery bags, unload the trucks, set up tables and chairs, and decorate, especially for those people that can't help us on Thursday," Ermoian said.

He said volunteers from his church have filled most of the available spots Nov. 17, when food donations will be collected at Walmart and both Dillons locations in Hays.

That food will be bagged and distributed to individuals and families that attend the dinner.

ECMA is in its sixth year of coordinating the dinner, keeping the community tradition going for Corner Garden Restaurant, which organized the event for 10 years.

To volunteer for any of the available opportunities, contact First Call for Help at (785) 623-2800. Donations also are accepted for the Thanksgiving Day Feast, with proceeds going to ECMA's Second Mile Fund, which helps Ellis County residents meet various needs throughout the year. Donations can be sent to ECMA, P.O. Box 173, Hays, KS 67601.